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New overdose drug won’t affect Phoenix FD’s emergency treatment

PHOENIX — Federal health regulators have approved a device that delivers a single dose of a medication that can reverse the effects of a drug overdose.

The pocket-sized device is called Evzio, and the drug it will deliver is naloxone. Supporters say it will save lives when people lose consciousness or stop breathing because of a drug overdose.

The Phoenix Fire Department doesn’t use Evzio. Capt. Ruben Saavedra said they already have a better way of getting the medication into a patient’s system.

“We can inject this medication straight into their veins,” he said. “It goes right into their circulatory system and it works a lot faster.”

Saavedra said that his department has several ways to administer the drug.

“We can draw it up into a needle and give them a shot in their arm, which is considered neuromuscular,” he said. “Or we can give to them in an IV and it will go straight into their vein.”

They can also spray it into a victim’s nose.

Saavedra fears that once the Evzio device is available to the public, it will be used by people with a “legal issue” who fear that they’ll wind up in jail if the fire or police departments are called in to assist. That could lead to victims not getting the right treatment.

“Many times that one dose (delivered through the Evzio device) might not work,” said Saavedra. “That’s because many times, we have to give them multiple doses of that medication to come out of their overdose state.”

Evzio is expected to be available this summer.