Columbia Fire Department takes steps to avert opioid overdoses

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department is now using a medication called naloxone hydrochloride to avert opioid overdoses.

"This drug will buy more time for the patient," said Assistant Fire Chief Brad Fraizer. "It will allow things to slow down, and give us a chance to get them to the hospital so they can receive more advanced care."

Fraizer said it's important to have the medication on fire trucks, because they often get to the scene quicker than an ambulance. 

Flow's pharmacist Alex Smith said he thinks the fire department is making a good decision by administering naloxone hydrochloride.

"The medication they have is a short active one to get the patients to the emergency room," he said. "It's a good starting point to prevent people from overdosing on the drug because that's the real issue."

Although there is an increase in opioid abuse throughout the country, Smith said opioids, such as hydocodone oxycodone and fentanyl are still available in drug stores.

The fire department has the medication on all front line trucks.

Fraizer said if patients receive the naloxone medication and they are not under the influence, they will not experience any side effects.