Nationwide overdose deaths are estimated to have increased by 27% within 12 months
Larrecsa Cox passed through a second-hand tire shop. A young man disappeared a few days ago. He injected heroin into his hand with a syringe.
He went home to a hill on the outskirts of the city. The boy has been rescued by medical staff, and the task of a team led by Cox is to prevent people who overdose from experiencing this experience again.
The young man’s mother came out wearing pink slippers and met her in the rain. He told him that many people had died in the area.
“Someone I have known since I was born.” He said, “I need to count with the fingers of two hands. “In the past six months, many people have died. “
The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than one million people in the United States and triggered another public health crisis: addictive fires. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between September 2019 and August 2020, more than 88,000 people died from drug overdose. This is the highest record in 12 months.
Dr. Michael Kilkenny, head of the Carbell County Health Department, including Huntington, said that the disaster was a reflection of the failure of public health infrastructure, which was unable to cope with COVID-19 and drug addiction. The challenge.
At the same time, Kilkenny said, health deficiencies exacerbated the consequences of drug use: HIV, hepatitis C, and fatal bacterial infections consumed meat on the bones, causing 20-year-old children to undergo open heart surgery. Last year, the county had fewer than 380,000 people living with HIV-infected people related to injecting drugs and fewer than 100,000 residents, more than New York State in 2019.
Huntington was once at the center of the addiction epidemic. On the afternoon of August 15, 2016, in Huntington, 28 people overdose within four hours. Connie Priddy, a nurse in the emergency medical services department, said this was a “critical moment.”
In 2017, the county took an average of six overdoses a day. Some companies changed bathroom bulbs to blue bulbs, making it more difficult for addicts to find blood vessels.
The problem is no longer ignored. The county received two donations and appointed the paramedic Cox to lead a team of addiction specialists, psychotherapists and police officers to tour the county and discover drug overdose. “Do you have an addiction? We can help you.
If the people they meet are willing to receive treatment, they will help them. If not, give them naloxone (a drug that can reverse overdose) and other supplements to help them survive temporarily.
The whiteboard in his office had the names of people who agreed to be treated, which accounted for about 30% of the drug addicts they found. Two years later, overdose calls dropped by 50%.
The federal government says Huntington is a role model, and officials in other cities are also studying his work.
Pridi, who coordinated the team and collected data, said that the first few months of the pandemic were stable. But in May, 142 emergency medical service calls were received to report overdose, almost the same as the record at the height of the crisis.
By the end of 2020, the volume of overdose calls in Carbell County has increased by 14% over the previous year.
“It’s crazy,” said Nurse Pridi, who said colleagues in other counties told her that their income had doubled that of Carbell.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the 12 months ending August 2020, the number of deaths from overdose across the country increased by 27%. In West Virginia, this number has increased by 38%.
Cox’s office received an overdose report. In October, a person from a woman she knew, she held her breath: Kayla Carter.
Carter is a leader in mathematics, she likes stars. His family always thought he would work at NASA one day.
However, by the age of 20, she had become addicted to opioids.
Her mother Laura said, “This is really hell.”
Carter had dozens of drug overdose. At the age of 30, he walked with crutches. He was infected with the virus all over his body. He suffers from hepatitis C and HIV.
In 2018, HIV began to spread among addicts who used needles. Kilkenny said the county has taken some actions and established a syringe replacement program as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of cases has decreased.
But they rebounded again.
Pridi said it felt like the country was opposing them. Due to the dangers posed by discarded syringes, the State Assembly is enacting a law restricting syringe replacement procedures.
The syringe procedure has been extensively studied, and the consensus is that it gives positive results. The CDS describes it as a “safe, effective and cheap” initiative. According to research, it will not increase the use of drugs and will greatly reduce the spread of HIV.
Carter was hospitalized last year with endocarditis, which is a heart infection caused by the use of dirty needles. His parents said he looked 100 years old. They cried when they got home.
When he left the hospital, he stopped taking drugs. She gained 30 pounds (13.5 kg) and was sorry for all the things she had lost: the birth of the baby, the birthday party, the funeral. They thought they were back.
But one day, he stopped answering the phone. Her mother went to her apartment and found her dead on the bathroom floor.
They have not received the medical report, but her father, Jeff, a retired paramedic, said he didn’t want to read it. He prefers to think that he died from complications related to surgery, rather than because he relapsed and took an overdose.