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[Share]Published: April 17, 2014

More FDNY Members Will Now Carry Naloxone to Help with Drug Overdoses

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and  Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan with the FDNY paramedics honored for their life-saving rescues using Naloxone.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan with the FDNY paramedics honored for their life-saving rescues using Naloxone.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano joined Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan and Police Commissioner William Bratton announced on Apr. 17 that all FDNY EMTs, 205 fire companies and police officers on Staten Island will begin carrying Naloxone to treat drug overdoses.

They will join the FDNY paramedics who have been trained to use the medication for more than 40 years.

“We know how important this initiative is,” Commissioner Cassano said. “We know it works and we know it saves lives.”

The nasal spray treats drug overdoses when respiration is depressed, which includes drugs like heroin or prescribed pain medications. Naloxone has no adverse effects if administered to someone who has not overdosed, so it can be used as a diagnostic tool, as well.

Last year, FDNY paramedics administered the drug more than 2,800 times citywide. In the first four months of 2014, there have been more than 700 incidents throughout the five boroughs.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano speaks about Naloxone with Police Commissioner William Bratton (left) and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano speaks about Naloxone with Police Commissioner William Bratton (left) and Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

At the ceremony, six FDNY paramedics who successfully used Naloxone to save a patient were presented with certificates for their actions, including Paramedics Joseph D’Agosto, Henry Cordero, John Heer, Fernando Payamps, John Roddy (accepted by his partner, Paramedic Willie Acosta) and Stephen Tortoriello. 

“Many of these overdoses are accidental,” said Paramedic D’Agosto, who will help train EMTs and firefighters. He said the response he was honored for was a woman in her 60s who overdosed on pain medications. “It’s like using any nose spray, but can block receptors causing respiratory distress.”

Commissioner Cassano said EMTs and firefighters will be trained by July 1.

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