INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Most people don't think about being called upon to save someone from a drug overdose, though the Centers for Disease Control reports thousands of people die every year from opioid abuse.
"Pretty much everybody knows somebody that this has involved," Joe Griffith said. Griffith is a member of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. He organized a Narcan training session at his church on Monday.
"There's times during services that people will come in for help, you know," Griffith said. "So, this will help our people identify them."
Griffith spent over four decades as a firefighter. He said using Narcan is simple once people receive a little training.
"Your adrenaline will kick up," Griffith said. "You know that these people got to have help, and you're the one that's gonna give it to them."
Jeff Cottrell is a peacemaker with the city's Office of Public Health and Safety. He recently received Narcan training, which is useful as he comes in direct contact with neighbors who can benefit.
"I may run into an individual with an opiate issue or possibly somebody who is ODing on the spot," Cottrell said.
Cottrell said people are putting their lives at risk by not getting help when they, or a friend, overdose.
"Some people just have a fear of law enforcement, of first responders, and so sometimes because of that individuals don't get the help they need right away," Cottrell said.
Indianapolis Emergency Services reports they have given out fewer doses of Narcan this year than in previous years. IEMS has given at least 835 people a Narcan dose so far this year. In all of last year, they said they gave out over 1,600 doses. That is less than this time in 2018 when they reportedly administered nearly 1,700 doses.
IMPD said they have administered Narcan 56 times so far this year. That is less than the 77 times last year, 96 times at this point in 2017, and 114 times by this point in 2016. IMPD adds this is a pretty rough number because IMPD uses an old reporting system that is going away at some point.
This system tracks if officers tell the responding EMS crew they administered it. It is included in the notes, but otherwise they said there is no good way to track right now.
Indianapolis Fire Department has reportedly given around 1,500 doses of Narcan so far this year.