As opioids continue to tear families apart in the Four States, emergency services are facing new problems.
As part of our series, a “Shot in the Dark-shedding Light on the Opioid Crisis” we’re learning more about the use of narcan and overdoses in the Newton County area. Authorities are now trying to figure out how to carry narcan and how to tackle a new issue.
“We’ve always had problems with opioids here, as far as day to day you know people who are abusing, miss using an accidentally overdosing on them,” says Chris Leek, BC METS.
Metro Emergency Transport System staff say they see a few trends with overdoses in the Four states.
“More accidental and just misuse of prescription medications would probably be the older generation, more intentional misuse would be the younger generations but it can cross all, there’s really no age gap to confine it to one section,” says Chris Leek.
Emergency services across the Four States have started carrying narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug.
“It does have a shelf life obviously but it’s also better if it’s kept in a climate controlled,” says Chris Jennings, Newton Co. Sheriff.
But law enforcement are having a particularly difficult time carrying narcan.
“Now in the patrol cars and on the officers belts, that’s just not possible,” says Jennings.
Sheriff Jennings is dealing with two issues with the reversal drug at his department.
“One the officers don’t really have room for it right now on their belts, and second is the climate control they’re out in the 100 degree weather or they’re out in the 0 degree weather all the time,” says Jennings.
So for now the Newton County Jail is the only place he’s able to keep it.
“We are currently looking at getting it in our jail, so we can at least have it in our jail, in the climate controlled atmosphere obviously,” says Jennings.
Sheriff Jennings concern isn’t just with keeping the narcan, but what addicts do after getting it.
“I’ve seen instances where someone had narcan used on them, as soon as they left the hospital, right back out and overdosed again,” says Chris Jennings.
“Sometimes you’re thinking along the lines of an opioid and you finding you know they’re on different medications or there are illicit drugs mixed in,” says Chris Leek.
“The best prevention for these people, is to not use obviously,” says Chris Jennings.