- Each dose of Naloxone, an overdose reversal drug, cost about $36 and, depending on the potency of the opioid, one patient may require several doses. The department estimates it will spend up to $90,000 on Naloxone this year —that's 50 percent more than their entire budget for all the medications aboard their ambulances.
Picard says that's not the only cost. He calculates that each overdose run cost the city $1,104. He counts the wear on the ambulance, the cost of drugs and the medics' time.
His proposed three strikes policy would work like this: The first two times a person overdoses they would have to pay back every cent by performing community service. If that same person overdoses a third time, but they have not completed their community service, an ambulance will not go out to help them. Picard says his plan has been called inhumane, but, he worries about what could happen when the city can't afford any emergency services at all.
His plan has its critics. For one thing, even if were feasible, it might not make a big financial difference. According to the Fire Department, only 15 percent of overdose runs are for people who have had multiple overdoses. Chief Paul Lolli says that means the bulk of the overdose runs, 85 percent, are for first time overdoses.