RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Rushing to a heroin overdose has become part of they daily grind for the Richmond Ambulance Authority.
“It is a daily occurrence for us here in the City of Richmond, an average of one a day,” said Rob Lawrence, Chief Operating Officer for the Richmond Ambulance Authority.
On April 4th, RAA treated nine people in just one day for a heroin overdose. The average age of a victim is between 34-36 years old.
First responders now come armed with Naloxone, or the generic version Narcan, a life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of the overdose.
“We administer the Naloxone to basically save the patient to ensure they regain consciousness.”
Mapping out the possible heroin overdoses in the past 12 months, it is easy to see the problem is widespread and not limited to any one part of the city. Nor is the epidemic limited to Richmond.
In just the first two months of this year in Chesterfield, the county reported an 183% increase in heroin overdoses and fatalities over the same time period last year.
In Henrico, there have been 56 suspected drug overdoses so far this year. The majority are believed to be related to heroin.
The problem is so prevalent, some addicts now have their own prescription for Naloxone on hand. However, RAA warns the effects of the Naloxone can run out before the heroin.
“It is absolutely vital that you call 911 because the drug has a longer life, shall we say, than Naloxone itself,” says Lawrence.
Last year, abuse of heroin and prescription drugs killed more than 700 Virginians.
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