WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The West Valley City Fire Department is the first emergency medical service provider in the state of Utah to carry IV Acetaminophen, a non-opioid-based pain management medication, on its ambulances.
WVCFD worked with Dr. Peter Taillac, the department's medical director, on implementing a medication plan to help combat the opioid epidemic by utilizing non-opioid-based medications to relieve patients’ pain.
“There's definitely a segment of the population that is very sensitive and prone to addiction if exposed to opioid pain medication," Taillac said. "Now we’re not saying we’re not going to use opioids — opioid pain medications have a real role in EMS, very effective and have been proven effective for years. But now we have an option to give to give patients who do not want to be exposed to opioids."
IV Acetaminophen has been shown to successfully manage pain in multiple studies.
WVCFD Medical Division Battalion Chief Scott Hall and Dr. Taillac started talking about implementing this last year as the price for these treatments came down.
So far, they’ve administered 25 treatments using the new options.
The opioid epidemic in America is a serious concern for all health care providers. According to the CDC, 70,630 American lives were lost in 2019 due to opioid overdose. The CDC also states on its website that nearly 841,000 American lives have been lost to opioid overdoses since 1999. The opioid epidemic in America is spread across all populations and economic classes.