The Minneapolis Fire Department on Tuesday began carrying the anti-overdose drug Narcan to aid victims in emergency situations, officials said.

Several other fire departments and law enforcement agencies in the Twin Cities, including the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, also carry the drug, which is also known by its generic name, naloxone. It can counteract overdoses of heroin as well as overdoses of prescription pain medications such as Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin in minutes.

It took several months to get all fire personnel trained in the use of Narcan, officials said. The emergency responders will use a vaporized form of the drug, which can be given nasally.

The cost of the drug treatments and a part of the training costs are being paid for by the Minnesota Metropolitan Emergency Services Board.

"This is another way that our first responders will be able to save lives," Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said. "As the use and abuse of opioids has increased in recent years, so have opioid overdoses. MFD can play a critical role in preventing those overdoses from becoming fatal."

Pat Pheifer