Bridgeport Fire Department receives donation of 400 doses of opioid antidote

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BRIDGEPORT - Two years ago, members of the Bridgeport Fire Department didn't even know what naloxone was. Now, as with many first responders, they can't do without the opioid antidote.

"We are going through about one to two doses a day," says Bridgeport Fire Chief Richard Thode.

Naloxone is the generic form of an opioid antidote that can reverse the effects of a drug overdose.

Because it can cost up to $70 per dose, Thode says his command staff is always hoping for donations, including from the pharmaceutical company the makes naloxone injectors.

"We reached out to them. Due to overwhelming demand, they were out."

But, the local agency in charge of distribution of naloxone in Bridgeport managed to get 400 doses donated from the state Department of Public Health to the fire department.

"Its with this type of contribution, this type of donation, this type of awareness, and first responders that can make a difference and saving lives," said Mayor Joe Ganim.

The agency responsible for the donation is the Greater Bridgeport Area Prevention Program, which has a contract with the state to administer clean syringes to those who need through a mobile unit that travels the city everyday.

"We have about 814 clients that access the syringe exchange program," said Rev. Nancy Kingwood-Small, of GBAPP.

They have had the contract for approximately a year and a half.

"Since then, we are 300 percent over the number of the former contractor," said Kingwood-Small.

It seems only fitting that this major donation, to the Bridgeport Fire Department, comes during National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.