Boston Firefighters Call for Increased Funds for Opioid Epidemic

Fire chiefs across the region gathered with political leaders in Boston on Monday to discuss ways to confront the opioid epidemic, calling for increased funding for addiction treatment and supply more firefighters with Narcan, a drug that reverses heroin overdoses, reports The Boston Globe.

The chiefs told Michael Botticelli, director of the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy, that firefighters are increasingly on the front lines of the crisis.

“It’s an epidemic that has no boundaries,” Keith Stark, fire chief in Weymouth, where 10 people have died from opioid overdoes this year, said a meeting at Boston Fire Department headquarters.

Firefighters who administer Narcan to revive overdose victims have also been providing information about treatment, hoping to steer them into recovery.

“People need help beyond just giving them Narcan,” Stark said. “It’s a cycle.”

Botticelli said the scope of the crisis demanded action on several fronts — providing more treatment options for addicts and “capitalizing on every intervention” to persuade people to get help.

Gene Doherty, the fire chief in Revere, described a new local program where firefighters will visit the homes of overdose victims to speak with them about treatment options. Firefighters are collaborating with Kim Hanton, director of addiction services at North Suffolk Mental Health Association, who has been reaching out to families of addicts.

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