Delaware County officials report increase in people using heroin in public places

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MUNCIE, Ind. -- The disturbing trend of drug users doing heroin in public places is becoming more popular, according to medical professionals. Recently, a man passed out in a Muncie Walmart from heroin use and a Delaware County mom overdosed in a gas station.

Muncie police said they responded to a total of 37 overdose calls during the month of January.

One of those calls was over the weekend, when Bret Henry was found passed out in the diaper aisle of Walmart. Police used an AED, but it wasn't until EMS showed up and administered two doses of Narcan that he woke up.

On Jan. 28, Audra Carter was arrested after police said she overdosed in a gas station with her young daughter nearby. She was charged with neglect of a dependent and OWI controlled substance.

Experts believe drug users are taking heroin in public places, hoping enough people will be around in case they overdose.

At IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital's emergency department, two patients are treated each day for overdoses. Dr. Kendal Baker said some users who take heroin alone might not ever make it to the ER. Others who are overdosing are often dropped off by friends or family members at the emergency room doors.

Some overdose patients return the same day or the day after with the same symptoms.

"We try to convince them to stay for their own safety because the medicine can wear off before the drugs that they took wear off," Dr. Baker said.

Dr. Baker said there's been no break in heroin overdoses in the county for at least the last three years.

“Usually you can see that they’re not breathing or struggling to breathe and very sedated and not arousing to any kind of stimulation, whether that’s yelling at the person or whatever," said Dr. Baker.

If you see someone who might be experiencing a heroin overdose, look for those symptoms and call 911. Follow the instructions of the dispatcher.

Delaware County recently received a grant for Naloxone kits. For more information on how you can get a kit and go through training, call the Delaware County Health Department at 765-587-0660.

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