TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Vigo County is on track to set a new record by the end of 2016. Before you celebrate, it’s not one to be proud of. This as drug overdoses are on the rise across the Wabash Valley.
“Subject unresponsive”, is an emergency call that is becoming all too common. Robert Eberhardt is the Assistant Chief of EMS Operations in Terre Haute. He will tell you it’s a result of the war on drugs.
“I know that we’ve seen an increase in the amount of usage for Narcan,” said Eberhardt.
For a population in need of a lifesaving tool, there’s the so called “miracle drug.” it’s being used now more than ever before. “Obviously, there’s a problem in this community to be able to say we’re using this an awful lot,” said Eberhardt.
Paramedics have administered Narcan 77 times since the beginning of the year. The overdose reversal drug is being used nearly 10 times a month. If this trend continues, 100 doses will be used by year’s end, and that’s a record.
“Meth was always our bread and butter around here. Over the last couple of years we’ve seen a shift to heroin,” said Sgt. Steve Lockard, with the Vigo County Drug Task Force.
A transition that is cheaper but could cost you your life. The task force is in the process of implementing a new policy, which would put Narcan in the hands of road officers.
“You try to adapt, overcome it, and do the best you can. It’s a cat and mouse game. You’re always chasing the next big issue and trying to combat it,” said Lockard.
It’s going to take more than a reversal drug, as drug addiction and abuse is only getting worse. “It’s more of just a Band-Aid fix. It doesn’t solve the underlying problem these patients have,” said Eberhardt.
State officials are looking at what has become a public health crisis in the Hoosier state.
Attorney general Greg Zoeller hosted a discussion last week in Indianapolis. Topics included dealing with illicit drug use, including opioid abuse, and how to combat the problem. Members of the Vigo County Drug Task Force were in attendance.