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Officials: Overdoses in Lawrence County, Ohio declining

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WOWK) — Lawrence County Emergency Medical Services officials say it has good numbers to report in the wake of the opioid crisis.

Since 2017, when they saw a spike in overdoses, those numbers have decreased over time. The overdose numbers in the county have declined from 427 in 2017, to 346 in 2018, and to 239 in 2019.

“In 2017, I pushed more Narcan that year than I did the very first 25 years of my career together,” said Paramedic Supervisor Bill Elliott. “It was every day we were seeing overdoses.”

Elliot credits the hard work of EMS crews, Narcan, and drug diversion programs in the county with helping the overdose numbers go down.

“When we get to them, they are basically on their death bed,” said Elliot. “They’re not breathing, so we catch them as close to death as they can be, give them the Narcan that they need, and save them.”

He also credits the numbers going down due to people going into long-term recovery programs. The one thing that has increased for EMS personnel are the number of calls they respond to.

Number of calls Lawrence County EMS has received per year since 2015

Elliot says the call volume increase is due to Lawrence County’s population growing older. Many of the calls EMS receives are for falls, which in older age can be very dangerous. Elliot encourages folks to look after their loved ones and make sure there aren’t any hazards in their homes like loose rugs, and make sure to install railing wherever their loved ones may need it.

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