How Ohio’s Opioid Crisis Impacts First Responders

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First responders are at the forefront of the war on drugs every day and, in Ohio, these workers are feeling the brunt of a staggering epidemic.

King5 reports that Ohio is one of the hardest areas hit, with one hundred people dying each week from overdoses, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Nationwide, 175 are dying daily. That means the majority of national opioid deaths daily are in Ohio.

First responders like firefighters and EMTs are the ones on the scene first trying their best to save lives. The numbers of calls are increasing, and in a video on NBC News, one first responder shares that he once saw one or two opioid overdoses every couple of weeks, but that now it is that many or more every day.

These first responders share that in years past, most of their calls were in response to diabetics who fell into diabetic comas. Now the vast majority of the calls are related to opioid overdose.

According to a report on EMS World, in 2015, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders administered naloxone 19,782 times in OhioThis number continues to grow.

Another frightening number is the increased amount of Narcan (naloxone) needed when there is an overdose. First responders are now administering upwards of 15 or 20 mg of Narcan to try to save a life, where 2 mg was once enough. Why? The problem is that overdoses now are usually caused by opioids mixed with fentanyl, a horrifyingly potent drug on its own.

The Dangers of Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is taking a devastating toll on Ohioans. Often someone taking illicit drugs may not even know that fentanyl has been added to the mix. Just a tiny amount of fentanyl can cause an overdose and death.

The Atlantic shares a frightening comparison; the lethal dose of heroin might be around 30 milligrams, a small scoop. A lethal dose of fentanyl might be 3 milligrams, just a sprinkle of a few grains. Even unintentional contact, like breathing it in from close proximity, can be dangerous. It is not an unusual for a first responder to end up as an ER patient because of accidental contact with fentanyl on the job.

These dangers do not just affect those taking the drugs and the first responders who deal with them. The first responders in the above reports mention the impact this crisis has on families and children. They keep teddy bears with them to give to children for comfort on the scene. Sadly, it is often the children who are calling 911 while their parents are struggling with an overdose.

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Treatment Is Available

If you or any of your loved ones are using drugs, addiction treatment is the best option. While first responders may be able to save your life in the short-term, the reality is that recovering from an overdose is not the same as recovering from addiction.

The professionals at Recovery Village Columbus stand ready to help you get on the path to recovery and freedom from addiction. Contact us today and you can talk with an addiction specialist to explore your treatment options. We are ready to listen and to offer you the help you need to regain control of your life now.