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Opioid Response Plan

Opioid Response Program

The City of Tacoma Fire Department has developed the following strategies to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with opioid use disorder. Currently our Opioid Response Program has four components: a Narcan distribution program, community training in recognizing an opioid overdose, Safe Station program, and a Mobile Response Unit.  

 

Narcan Distribution Program

In February 2018, TFD pioneered a community distribution program of free “rescue kits” containing the life-saving medication, Narcan, packaged as an easy-to-administer, fast-acting nasal spray. The goal of rescue kits is to reduce morbidity and mortality in the community. Currently, we distribute an average of one rescue kit per week.

Nasal Narcan

Also provided in the kit is:

  • Literature on how to recognize an opioid overdose.

  • Information on how to connect the person to treatment services.

  • Direction on how to obtain a replacement kit.

The current funding for TFD’s opioid rescue kits is from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is facilitated by the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute and the Dave Purchase Project (formerly Tacoma Needle Exchange).


Recently the distribution program has expanded to the Pierce County Jail. Narcan will be provided for staff in their booking area, transport vehicles and mail processing room.

 

For additional information about the program, please contact TFD paramedic, Kurt Gordon at kgordon@cityoftacoma.org.

Community Training

During our free CPR classes, firefighters will teach attendees how to administer the lifesaving drug Narcan to someone experiencing and opioid overdose.
 
Along with CPR skills, class attendees will learn:
  • What opioids are and how they work.

  • Signs and symptoms of overdose.

  • Hands on training for how to administer Narcan nasal spray and injectable.

  • Proper disposal of opioids and other unwanted medications.

picture of narcan

For 2019, locations for the free training are: People’s Community Center, Eastside Community Center, The Center at Norpoint, Fircrest Community Center, Fire Station 8 and Fire Station 16. Visit our CPR page for a class schedule and directions.


For additional information, please contact Firefighter Craig Hanna at channa@cityoftacoma.org.

Safe Station Program

TFD’s Safe Station program offers a safe, welcoming environment that is available 24/7 for residents of Tacoma, Fife and Fircrest seeking help on their journey to healing and recovery from opioid use disorder. There are no initial costs to the individual for the services that include:

  • Medical assessment

  • Transportation to a medical facility, as needed

  • Opioid use disorder treatment assessment for outpatient services

  • First medication dosage for opioid use disorder, as needed

  • Connection to long-term treatment services

TFD's Safe Station program is modeled after the Manchester, New Hampshire program.

 
The decision to embark on this journey is entirely up to the individual. When they are ready, TFD's Safe Station program is here to help. 

Program-related questions can be direct to Medical Services Officer Mary Hallman at (253) 591-5065 or mhallman@cityoftacoma.org

  

**At this time, TFD's only designated Safe Station is located at Fire Station 1 (901 Fawcett Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402 ).

 

station 1

TFD Station location map.

 

TFD Opioid Initiative Activity July 5, 2019-October 1, 2019 
911 EMS CARES Mobile Unit incidents  108
People assessed by the CARES Mobile Unit   76
People started on opioid treatment by the CARES Mobile Unit   16
Safe Station Walk-ins 13
Safe Station connections with referral to outpatient treatment 12

 

 

TFD CARES and Mobile Response Unit

The TFD CARES program is a fire department based program designed to:

  • Equip residents with health management tools.

  • Aid in achieving improved health outcomes.

  • Reduce the recurrent use of emergency services.

The program offers three level of service, individual case management, community education and support, and non-emergency mobile response.

Mobile Response Unit

Supported by a two-year grant from the Washington State Health Care Authority, the TFD CARES mobile response unit provides no cost medical intervention including withdrawal stabilization, first addiction medication dosage as needed, referrals and case management for those with opioid use disorder. 

For additional information, please contact TFD CARES Program Manager, Laura Morris at lmorris@cityoftacoma.org.