SUPERIOR - You’ve probably heard of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. and the numbers are disturbing.
Data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that more than 760,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose.
The numbers also show that since 2018, two out of three drug overdoses involved an opioid.
Looking back five years, emergency department visits for opioid overdoses rose 30% in all parts of the country between July 2016 and September 2017.
But a medication is now on the frontlines of the battle against opioids — Naloxone or Narcan.
It’s designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes and emergency responders nationwide are learning how to use it.
The team that makes up the Superior Volunteer Fire Department is on the clock 24 hours a day, seven days a week, responding to the needs of their community.
“We really wanted to get it to help our entire community," said Superior Volunteer Fire Department service manager Heather Pecora.
The community is why — that as of last month — eight department members became certified Master Trainers for Narcan.
“If we are needing to give Narcan it’s life or death,” noted Superior Volunteer Fire Department Captain Josh Pecora.
Narcan is one of the safest medications and can help first responders in a variety of ways.
The drug can be used to help a child who accidentally got into a medicine cabinet, someone suffering from memory loss who took their medication too many times, or a community member who is struggling with drug addiction.
"Narcan is something we are needing more and more and more," said Josh Pecora. "We obviously have a problem across the board in the united states for drugs."
Superior is the first fire department in the county to be certified.
While they haven't had to administer the life-saving medication yet, it's more about having the option.
“For us to have the ability, we can save a lot of lives that way,” Josh Pecora told MTN News.
Not only is the department certified to use the medication, but they are able to train community members who are interested in carrying the medication themselves.
Heather Pecora explains what the department hopes to do in the video below: