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Rash of overdoses in Starke County prompts emergency Narcan run

KNOX, Ind. - With heroin overdoses on the rise in Starke County, EMS is re-evaluating how to ensure they don’t have to make another emergency Narcan run, like they did two weeks ago.

“I don’t believe this has ever happened,” said Starke County EMS Director, Travis Clary.

Clary had to make an emergency run for more Narcan after Saturday, September 23 saw seven heroin overdoses in six hours in Starke County.

Three men overdosed on East South Street a little after 9 a.m.; another man and a girl overdosed less than two miles away on Heaton Street; and somewhere in there, two others showed up at IU Starke Hospital having overdosed.

“We’re pretty sure that once we get the lab results back from each set of heroin that we located and the blood test results, that it’s going to show that it was probably from the same batch,” said Chief Detective for the Starke County Sheriff’s Department, Adam Gray.

Because they had to respond to so many overdoses in such a short period of time, the EMS Director drove to La Porte Hospital to restock up on their Narcan so that they could fill their quota in the event that they had more overdose calls that weekend.

 “Most of it was precautionary. …It was laced with something and some people were requiring multiple doses,” said Clary.

He says those multiple overdoses depleted eight to ten doses of Narcan, which represents about a third of their supply.

“After every overdose, typically we’ll go back to the hospital pharmacy and replenish them…The biggest thing was it was a Saturday evening, and our pharmacy is closed on weekends,” said Clary.

He says they typically carry six to eight doses on each of their three ambulances, but in light of the near shortage, that could be changing.

“We’ve definitely talked about raising our par levels of Narcan that we carry on each ambulance. …We’re talking about possibly upping that to 10 to 12,” he said.

Clary and Detective Adam Gray agree that while they may not understand why the crisis has hit Starke County so hard, they have to be prepared to save those who can’t save themselves.

“I don’t understand how these guys can want to go out and take that chance of is this heroin? Is there fentanyl laced with it? Putting it in your arm and not knowing whether you’re going to wake up from it or not, and are you going to get medical treatment in time? I can’t figure it out,” said Detective Gray.

These seven overdoses brought the total for the year up to at least 24, with six fatalities.

That number already tops the total for 2016.

Detective Gray says they arrested two of the people who overdosed on felony charges of Possession of a Narcotic Drug and Possession of Paraphernalia.

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