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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

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Governor's office media room

January 7, 2014

CONTACT: Jennifer Miller, (608) 266-1683

Pilot Program Gives Emergency Medical Technicians A Tool to Battle Patient Narcotic Overdoses

MADISON—The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is launching a pilot program to help Emergency Medical Services battle patient narcotic overdoses in Wisconsin by allowing all Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to administer Naloxone, a drug that counters the effects of an opioid overdose from heroin or a prescription opioid such as hydrocodone. Currently in Wisconsin, only Advanced Life Support (ALS) EMTs can use Naloxone with these patients.

“Early intervention is critical when someone has overdosed, so making Naloxone available to these front-line providers is an important part of efforts to reduce deaths related to narcotic overdose,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer.

Narcotic abuse is increasing in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people aged 12 and older who have used heroin in the past year rose from 373,000 in 2007 to 669,000 in 2012. In addition, the CDC found that nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by prescription painkillers—also called opioid pain relievers.

This pilot program aligns with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) “15x15” challenge to reduce – by 15 percent by 2015 – the rate of nonmedical use and the number of unintentional overdose deaths involving controlled prescription drugs.

The one-year pilot includes education and training to EMTs under the guidance of their service medical director. The final report on the pilot’s outcomes will be released in early 2015. If the outcomes are favorable, a statewide roll-out will be implemented.

The following services have been accepted to participate:





Avoca and Rural EMS Avoca Marshfield Fire and Rescue Dept. Marshfield
Bayfield Ashland Counties EMS Council Washburn Mazomanie FD Mazomanie
Black River Falls EMS Black River Falls Milton and Milton Township Fire Department Milton
Boscobel Rescue Squad Inc Boscobel Mt. Calvary Ambulance Service Mount Calvary
Brazeau Ambulance Brazeau Newburg FD Newburg
Butler Volunteer FD Butler Oak Creek Fire Department Oak Creek
Cazenovia Area Rescue Squad Cazenovia Ocooch Mountain Rescue Gays Mills
Door County Sturgeon Bay Orfordville Fire Protection District Orfordville
Edgerton Fire Protection District EMS Edgerton Paratech Ambulance Service Milwaukee
Emergency Rescue Services, Inc Marinette Poynette-Dekorra EMS Poynette
Evansville EMS Evansville Rio EMS Rio
Fennimore Rural Fire Department Rescue Squad EMS Fennimore River Falls EMS River Falls
Glenwood City Ambulance Glenwood City Silver Lake Rescue Squad Silver Lake
Greendale Fire Department Greendale South Milwaukee Fire Department South Milwaukee
Greenfield FD Greenfield Spencer Ambulance Spencer
Hatley Fire and Ambulance District Hatley Spring Green FD Spring Green
Hillsboro Area Ambulance Hillsboro Spring Valley Area Ambulance Spring Valley
Horicon EMS Horicon Stratford FD Stratford
Jackson Fire Department Jackson Tri-County Ambulance Whitehall
Kenosha Fire Department Kenosha Tri-State Ambulance La Crosse
La Crosse FD La Crosse Twin Lakes Rescue Twin Lakes
Lake Mills EMS Lake Mills Waterloo Fire Department Waterloo
Lebanon Fire Department EMS Lebanon Fire Department EMS Whitewater FD Whitewater
Maiden Rock-Plum City-Stockholm EMS Plum City    

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Last Revised:  January 07, 2014