JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As the impact of the opioid epidemic continues to challenge the city, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is asking for an extra $200,000 to prevent a possible shortfall in rescue transport medication.
The medication would cover supplies such as Narcan, the drug making headlines recently because it's used to reverse overdoses.
Though $200,000 may not seem like a lot of money, it is critical funding that could help JFRD keep up with the demand of treating drug overdoses.
According to city records, the money would go toward rescue transport medications, such as Narcan.
Wednesday night, the mayor's budget review committee decided to allow the request to move forward. Now City Council will vote to approve or deny the $200,000.
It comes at a time when the city is fighting the opioid epidemic from different angles. Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford is pleading with the public to take the epidemic seriously.
The medical examiner's office has seen overdose deaths double in one year. A $1.5 million pilot program has been approved that would help rehabilitate overdose patients.
Narcan has become more expensive in the past seven years, too. According to JFRD, in 2013 its cost was about $14.50. In 2016, it went up to approximately $36.15.
Gov. Rick Scott will host a ceremonial bill signing Thursday in Orlando for HB 477, which creates new penalties and enhances existing penalties relating to synthetic opioid drugs, including fentanyl.