FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – They are going up and speeding up. Drug overdoses in Allen County are happening at an alarming pace. Between January and February this year overdoses rose 180 percent compared to the same time frame a year ago.
Agencies in the county have been working hard to curb this increase. They’ve taken a multi-step approach.
First, police continue to identify the drugs out there causing these overdoses. Right now they are mainly heroin and spice. The next approach is improving the access to Narcan– the drug that can reverse an opiate overdose. Finally, agencies old and new are increasing recovery options in the Summit City.
“My story is a lot like other people’s stories,” Andrea Schroeder said. “This is a young woman you think this wouldn’t happen to.”
Schroeder’s daughter Miriah died of a heroin overdose last year. Since, she’s been raising awareness of the opioid problem in our community by sharing her story hoping to see things change.
“Having discussions is wonderful, but there needs to be action,” Schroeder said.
Several agencies including the Allen County Health Department, Fort Wayne PD, local hospitals and recovery centers are taking that action.
At the beginning of this year Clean Slate opened in Fort Wayne. It’s one more option of several in the city where addicts can seek treatment.
“Everything is clinically lead,” Clean Slate’s Fort Wayne Manager, Cory McConnell, said. “All our treatment is specialized based on the patient’s needs.”
“She wanted help,” Schroeder said. “A couple times she asked for help. But we were told four to six weeks. We can’t wait four to six hours.”
Police reported 150 overdoses just in Clean Slate’s first two months of being open. That’s compared to 82 over the those two months last year. They’re going after those using this epidemic for profit. They need agencies like Clean Slate and Parkview Behavioral Health to concentrate on the addicts.
“We’ve certainly had a lot of raids here lately a lot of those being heroin related,” FWPD Capt. Kevin Hunter said. “So, enforcement is key but it’s not the main thing because there is no way we can arrest our way out of this issue.”
You can get naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, online or over the counter at a pharmacy. Starting April 12 you can get it at the Allen County Health Department’s Naloxone Education Access Training Clinic or NEAT Clinic.
“A lot of people in the community were in need of access to naloxone, but didn’t really know how to obtain it,” the Department’s Director of Clinical Services, Susan Cisney, said.
The clinic is more than just where you buy the overdose reversal drug. You’ll have to make an appointment that would run about a half hour.
“You can come to our NEAT Clinic for those people who are most interested in being able to identify a potential overdose, get educated on the administration of naloxone, what to expect after administering it and the next steps in getting that person some healthcare needs,” Cisney said.
More police officers are starting to carry Narcan, but it’s usually a loved one that is first on the scene.
“Lots of families are affected by this issue and this is one way they can help save a loved one if they accidentally overdose,” Hunter said.
To schedule an appointment at the NEAT Clinic starting April 12 call 260-449-7504. For more on Clean Slate click here. For more outlets having to do with addiction and recovery in Northeast Indiana click here.