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Fargo and West Fargo fire departments team up with public health to cut down overdoses

The departments will now distribute the life saving overdose medication Naloxone.

Fargo and West Fargo Fire will distribute two packs of NARCAN nasal spray, throughout the community.
Longnecker, Ryan
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FARGO — In Fargo alone, there have been at least 13 opioid overdose deaths this year, three of which were in August, and police are investigating a possible fourth.

Fargo Cass Public Health says from from 2018 to 2021, opioid-related deaths jumped from 13 to 33.

In light of that spike, Fargo and West Fargo fire departments have joined Fargo Cass Public Health in an effort to save lives with a "Narcan leave-behind" program.

West Fargo Fire Department will distribute Narcan to anyone who walks through their doors and asks for it.

And both West Fargo and Fargo departments will distribute it on their trucks to anyone who may have a history of drug use or overdose, or to anyone else there, no questions asked.


The message here is clear: The departments want to save lives.

And their idea is simple — if firefighters give this to the public to have in advance, it gets the medication to a person faster than any truck or ambulance.

"We get called out, and it could be you know, it could be a half hour, it could be an hour after the overdose, that opioid overdose, and we gotta try and apply our Narcan," said Kendel Frost, West Fargo deputy chief of operations. "If they have somebody on scene that has this and they can apply it earlier, we can save some lives."

The kits contain two Narcan nasal sprays in case more than one dose is required.

Using it is easy: insert it into the person's nostril and push in the medication.

There's even a guide on the box that includes instructions and a pathway to treatment.

"I want to just emphasize that those resources are there to get the help before it actually happens," said Brett Petsinger, a captain for Fargo Fire Department.

Anyone unable to use the QR code on the box or read the directions and who would like training can receive it at the West Fargo fire station.


Frost reiterated that an overdose can happen to anyone. Someone could forget about taking medication and accidentally double up, or they could be dealing with pain after surgery.

Either way, he urged the public to be prepared, whether it's for themselves or someone else.

Ben Morris joined WDAY in June of 2021 as a news reporter. He grew up in southern New Hampshire, before he moved to Fargo. He majored in media communications and minored in marketing at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
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