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Firefighters in Orange County will Leave Naloxone Behind with Families After Responding to a Suspected Overdose

Mayor Teresa Jacobs announce the Project Leave Behind program. Photo: Danielle Prieur

Orange County firefighters will now pass out the opioid reversal drug naloxone to the family members of people suspected of an overdose. The executive order allowing naloxone to be given to family members went into effect more than two years ago.

Orange County resident and medical student Austin Coye came up with Project Leave Behind after working with a naloxone distribution program at the University of Miami. She says each of the 361 kits that Orange County Fire Rescue will distribute to people at high-risk of overdose and their families include:

“naloxone and a treatment information for their loved one when they get back. Because this is not just about reaching the person who overdoses. But reaching a community of injection drug users and people at risk in Orange County.”

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs says she hopes it reduces some of the stigma around addiction.

"We're handing it out and saying there’s treatment. There’s help. If we’re willing to have those conversations, I’m hoping that more families and friends will be willing to have those conversations.”

The medical examiner’s office says in the first eight months of 2018, there were 34 heroin-related deaths and 137 fentanyl-related deaths in Orange County.
If you'd like to listen to the full story, please click on the clip above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.