By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s health commissioner recently released a figure stating that last year in Baltimore City, 761 people died from an overdose. The fire department is working to step up with a way to save lives for people who don’t want to go to the hospital.

On average, two people die per day of overdoses in Baltimore. Nationally, 200 people a day are dying.

Much of the rise is attributed to the synthetic drug fentanyl, mixed with heroin.

Starting this weekend, Baltimore has a new tool to lower the death count, the opioid blocker, Narcan.

“So we can put this life-saving antidote into people’s hands in real time,” said Deputy Chief Mark Fletcher with the Baltimore Fire Department.

The state health department has given the fire department the kits. EMTs will then distribute them to friends and family when on overdose calls.

“Prior to 911 being dispatched, the person who’s calling 911 or sees the overdosing happening can start treatment while we’re still responding,” Fletcher said.

These don’t cure addiction but they can get a user one step closer.

“The ultimate goal is to get people to treatment and addiction services,” Fletcher said.

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