CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) During the pandemic, drug overdose deaths rose to record numbers in the United States calling for a skyrocket of EMS calls. West Virginia saw one of those spikes.

There was a 55% increase in EMS responses to drug overdoses from May 2019 to May 2020. The entire year saw a 17% increase.

Bob Hansen, director of the Office of Drug Control Policy in West Virginia, said he thinks having a quick response team is important and helpful to EMT’s responding to those spike of calls.

“I think having that back up for the EMS system is a good thing because I think over the last several years our EMT’s have been going through quite a lot working with people who have overdosed,” Hansen said.

According to data from the Office of Drug Control Policy, 70% of overdose patients have been treated and transported.