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Holland firefighters use heroin antidote to save lives | News

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Holland firefighters use heroin antidote to save lives

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- A new state requirement to help first responders deal with heroin abuse is paying off in West Michigan.

Since October, any department that provides medical response is required to carry the heroin antidote, Narcan. WZZM 13 has learned that Holland firefighters have already used Narcan in two cases to save people's lives in December.

Narcan, which comes as a nasal spray in a small box, is now in every fire truck Holland because of the new requirement. The days of only fighting fires are long gone: Holland firefighters are now using a new tool to battle an enemy fueled by addiction.

"To counter act the effects of heroin," says Captain Chris Tinney, in charge of fire operations for the Holland Department of Public Safety. "It has made a difference in at least two cases.

"One happened to be a result of prescription meds, the other was in fact what we believe to be a heroin overdose."

At least one person was not breathing until the Narcan kicked in.

"Within minutes we had a return to respiration," Tinney said.

WZZM 13 asked Tinney whether or not the new requirements are part of the solution.

"It is part of the solution but its very reactive, and we would much rather see people not utilize drugs in that manner,"  Tinney said.