DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Dayton Fire Department responded to a record number of overdose calls in January, with over 235 victims needing lifesaving emergency help.
The first person an opioid overdose victim is most likely to see, after being revived, is a firefighter. In 2016, Dayton FD responded to more than 1,300 drug overdoses and they’re working harder than ever to try and keep up with this growing trend.
“In the month of January, we used more Narcan and treated more patients for opiate overdose than in any month in our history,” Dayton Fire Department Senior Paramedic David Gerstner said.
According to Gerstner, DFD has been using Narcan since 1979, but this is the worst it’s ever been.
“There’s some frustration. Some of these people we see over and over and over again. The same person will overdose and we’ll save their life and offer them the opportunity to receive treatment, to try to get off the drugs, and they’ll go nope, nope don’t want to do that,” Gerstner said.
Many of those overdose victims have often declined to be taken to a local hospital, for a full evaluation, after being resuscitated.
“We try to persuade them otherwise, but they can make a legal decision, if they’re of right and sound mind, so we can’t force them to go,” Dayton Fire Department Lt. Matthew Quick said.
As overdoses continue to skyrocket, the fire departments is administering Narcan more and more. Responding to upwards 15-18 overdose calls a night is the new normal for Dayton FD.
“Some of the hardest ones that I’ve seen in my life were dealing with women who were pregnant and some of them know how much danger they’re putting their child into, but just don’t see a way out,” Gerstner said.
To date, DFD averages about 60 overdose calls a week in 2017, so roughly one out of every seven calls is drug related.