FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Three Rivers Ambulance Authority paramedics have responded to more overdoses in 2017 so far than all of 2015.
“It’s an everyday occurrence for us and our troops are well prepared for it,” TRAA Chief Operating Officer Rob Smith said.
In fact, it’s not just once a day. TRAA paramedics respond to about three overdoses a day. The grasp of the opioid epidemic is obvious.
“We are 237 overdoses in this year which is what we ran in 2015 all together,” Smith said. “It’s staggering to see that in a 12 month period we’ve ran the same amount of calls in a four month period.”
Smith said first responders have changed how they do a few things too. They all wear special gloves because some heroin is laced with another opioid called carfentanil that can be absorbed through the skin and thin gloves.
They also are learning how to protect themselves against patients.
“The training that we’ve really concentrated on is protection of our crews because some of these patients do become violent after they’ve received their Narcan and become awake,” Smith said.
TRAA is also doing something nearly all first responders around the country are doing: making sure they have enough of the overdose reversal drug, Narcan, to keep up with the overdoses.
“Every provider out there is doing this and I’ve heard sometimes we’re giving up to four and five doses per overdose,” Smith said.