INDIANAPOLIS – Twice a day somewhere in Indianapolis an EMS crew is administering a heroin or prescription drug overdose antidote to a patient on the brink. The frequency of calls for help is astounding to medical and police officials.
“We’re up about 17% in the last year on our use of the antidote Narcan or Noloxone which is what we utilize not just for heroin but also prescription drug overdoses,” said Indianapolis EMS Director Dr. Charles Miramonti.
Indianapolis EMS crews administered Naloxone 628 times in 2013. So far this year they’ve used the drug 76 times.
Later this month, EMS crews will begin training IMPD officers in the city’s southwest district on how to deliver the antidote to patient before an EMS crew arrives.
“We’re going to look at the southwest side of the city,” said Miramonti after reviewing data and maps of Indianapolis’ heroin hot spots. “We’re going to put a training program together. We’re going to arm those officers with internasal which is just like atomize Narcan.”
“Heroin is the next big drug issue facing America,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “We know for a fact that 95 people lost their lives last year in Indianapolis because of heroin overdoses. We’re seeing heroin in numbers we haven’t seen in decades.”
In 2012 detectives from Metro Drug Task Force seized 1,823 grams of heroin. That weight jumped to 2,020 grams last year.
Heroin is more potent and cut with more deadly substances than in the past, taking many veteran users by surprise.
“Folks who were on heroin years ago now are out of prison or whatever and are now back in the resurgence of heroin…it is a different drug today than it was years ago,” said Miramonti. “You never know what you’re getting.”
Miramonti said because hospitals and doctors are cracking down on prescribing pain killers, many users are turning to heroin which is more readily available and cheaper.
“This is the third resurgence I’ve seen in the last 15 years in the city.”
Miramonti hopes to have officers patrolling the Haughville area trained and equipped with the antidote to begin treating patients next month.