FAIRBANKS, Alaska — In a story March 4 about opioid overdose kits, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the state funds the cost of Narcan kits. A state health department spokesman said the kits are funded with a federal grant and distributed through a state program.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Fairbanks firefighters give free opioid overdose rescue kits
The Fairbanks Fire Department, as part of a statewide initiative, is distributing free rescue kits for opioid overdoses
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The Fairbanks Fire Department is distributing free rescue kits for opioid overdoses as part of a statewide initiative to decrease incidents of drug-related deaths.
Each kit comprises two Narcan nasal administration devices, gloves, a CPR shield and instructions. Within 30-40 seconds of application, Narcan temporarily blocks opioid overdose effects, giving the overdosed person the ability to breathe while medical help arrives, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
In most circumstances, one dose of Narcan is sufficient, so each kit may be used in two instances or on two people in one instance.
Fairbanks Communications Director Teal Soden said people occasionally question why drug users should be given free medical supplies.
“The main message we want to send is that someone’s addiction doesn’t define their values,” she said.
The city announced the program Thursday in a release. The Fire Department joined Project HOPE (or Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) at the beginning of this year. The project’s goal is to help create a world where everyone has the health care needed to reach life’s full potential, according to the group’s website.
Since 2016, Fairbanks Fire Department personnel have administered Narcan 61 times in suspected drug overdoses, according to the release.
Narcan kits cost about $75. Funding is provided through a federal grant, and the kits are distributed through a state program, according to a state health department spokesman.
Opioids are found in prescription and illicit drugs, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, fentanyl and heroin.
Between 2009 and 2015, Alaska recorded 774 opioid-related deaths. Opioids were responsible for the deaths of 128 Alaskans in 2016, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services.