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Weirton EMS sees uptick in overdose calls

Updated: Wednesday, December 4 2013, 12:16 PM EST

By Jennifer Black


Crews with the Weirton Area Ambulance and Rescue Squad Inc. have been seeing an uptick in the number of drug overdose calls in recent weeks.

On Sunday, Dec. 1, crews responded to two separate overdose calls within just a few hours of each other.

According to Supervisor Rick Antol, Sunday’s calls help to make up more than 15 Weirton crews took from Nov. 2 to Dec. 1 and most of the cases involve heroin.

Antol said that many times people avoid calling 911 because they are afraid of the repercussions.

“Not calling is going to have more harm than calling, and getting yourself some help for a problem that could definitely be lethal,” Antol said.

While none of the overdoses resulted in deaths in November, Antol said the effects were still damaging.

“These people can have permanent brain damage after not breathing for 10 minutes, and that's permanent,” Antol said.

While the drug problem itself is not new, Antol said the increased number may be related to changes in the drug itself.

“What [the drug] is it cut with?  The concentration of it.  You have people that use a certain amount and it constantly changes, they may be getting a stronger dose and aren't aware,” Antol said.  “People know they have a problem and there are resources out there for them to seek help.”

One of the resources Antol pointed to was Never Alone West Virginia, a nonprofit support group for addicts that meets weekly.  The group has a Facebook page where people can turn for information and advice.  The group meets Mondays at 6 p.m. at 149 Preston Ave., located just before the Sacred Heart Church.


Weirton EMS sees uptick in overdose calls

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