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Monday, September 05, 2016

28 ODs in 4 hours: How the heroin epidemic choked a W.Va. city

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - He found the woman slumped over the steering wheel, an empty syringe on the floorboard and her skin dulling to a purplish blue.

Dave McClure, an EMS supervisor, counted four faint breaths per minute. Without the antidote he carried, she’d be dead in five minutes.

It was 3:25 p.m. on what was, so far, an ordinary Monday. For an EMT in this struggling city, bringing an addict back from the brink of opiate-fueled death counts as routine.

But as McClure searched for an unscarred vein in the young woman’s arm, dozens of others were shooting or snorting the same toxic powder she’d just taken. They started dropping, their muscles seizing, pupils shrinking to the size of pinheads. The heroin epidemic that had been quietly killing by the thousands began boiling to a climax that would traumatize the city and exhaust its emergency responders.

McClure’s radio squawked as he pushed in the IV full of a liquid called naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioids and jolts those overdosing back to life. “We’ve got another overdose,” the dispatcher reported. “We’ve got two more.”

The woman’s eyes blinked open.

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12 comments:

Steve said...

Damn. Let her die. She will just be your next busy call, but i know that's how you and the hospital get paid.

The more you keep alive, the more you transport again, and the more Medicaid pays the hospital.

I get it.

Anonymous said...

Now that's a really intelligent response. Jeez!!!!

Anonymous said...

8:48. I wonder if you would feel the same about people who have abused food and have diabetes, abused sex and have AIDS or cancer (HPV)', abused cigarettes and have lung cancer, etc...should we not treat them either?

Anonymous said...

She was just get high again. No point in saving these people.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I have a daughter who was/ is an addict.,906. It just gets to the point to let her die. 14 + years of trying to bring her about leads to just go ahead and die. I can't do the BS of the recovery system.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. I'm a smoker, but if I get lung cancer I won't cry and whine and beg. "New Lungs for Chuck" at Pohanka sent Chuck and his family on a whirlwind media tour to get money and lungs. This is and older man whose kids were grown. He would stand next to his Porsche parked at the front door and smoke cigs all day long. Do you think there is someone more deserving? Do you think it's ok that someone who needed lungs and never took part in a known deadly habit? Help people who truely don't deserve the hand they were dealt, and if you do something stupid (like smoke) when the time comes to pay for it own it like a man. As a country we are broke because we keep giving money to people who make irresponsible decisions, from welfare to wall st bailouts.

Anonymous said...

10:20 I know it's horrible (I truly know). YOU can't bring her about. Cry out to Jesus .....there is help for you and your daughter. Do not keep rescuing her.

Anonymous said...

10:20, I understand your plight...I'm in the same boat but not as long. My daughter is now in prison. However, this article referred to EMS providers trying to humanely save a life. And these turkeys (8:48 & 9:37) are wanting the EMS providers to just let 'em die....they're not worth saving. As a retired paramedic, I can tell you that's just not in my ethics. I have not been appointed "God" as yet and my ethics and the human side of me says that as much as I am disgusted and tired of fighting a seemingly losing battle, it is still my responsibility to try to save this human being. It's just not a choice I can ignore. Does it make me mad....YES. Do I want to smack the heck of these fools....YES. But until we are appointed "GOD", we (all of us, not just EMT's and Paramedics), we all have to save human life and hope for a change in the ways of the idiots who use these drugs.

Anonymous said...

To 10:20, you have to say NO, even if it is a harsh NO. My biggest peeve with these addicts and users is that statement, "Addiction is a disease." In the past several years I've been involved with addicts, including within my family, I've come to believe: Addiction is a choice, not a disease. Every morning, noon, afternoon, evening, and night, the addict has to CHOOSE, has to make a choice, between asking for help or getting that next fix. A choice of stealing for cash or asking for help. There is help out there, LOTS OF HELP, but you have to ask for it. Addiction, or the continuance of the addiction is NOT a disease, it is a choice. And we, the family and friends, must learn how to say NO and stick with it, except when the addict is asking for help. But be firm, turn your back if you have to, do not be the 'enabler'.

Anonymous said...

Oh well...they are heroin addicts. Why is it such a big concern now...maybe because it's touching the Caucasian neighborhoods. Now everyone is concerned...that is a white persons drug...it's their choice so I feel no sympathy because they were never this concerned when crack cocaine was in the African American communities.

Anonymous said...

well said 11:42, but the bleeding hearts need to be told no also! let them pony up if it's such a worthy cause. they won't! they will just pontificate to the rest of us! f em!

Anonymous said...

"10:20, I understand your plight...I'm in the same boat but not as long. My daughter is now in prison. However, this article referred to EMS providers trying to humanely save a life. And these turkeys (8:48 & 9:37) are wanting the EMS providers to just let 'em die....they're not worth saving. As a retired paramedic, I can tell you that's just not in my ethics. I have not been appointed "God" as yet and my ethics and the human side of me says that as much as I am disgusted and tired of fighting a seemingly losing battle, it is still my responsibility to try to save this human being. It's just not a choice I can ignore. Does it make me mad....YES. Do I want to smack the heck of these fools....YES. But until we are appointed "GOD", we (all of us, not just EMT's and Paramedics), we all have to save human life and hope for a change in the ways of the idiots who use these drugs.

September 5, 2016 at 11:31 PM"

11:31 aren't you playing GOD(or at least his Son) by saving their lives that they are trying to destroy?

Any intervention from the outside can be considered as playing GOD. Only by not intervening is letting the natural order of events to take place.