Tarrant County Responders Looking to Slow the Tide of Overdose Deaths

Larry Lease

Emergency responders are finding ways to slow the increase in overdose deaths.Obi-Pixel/Unsplash

Tarrant County is seeing an increasing wave of overdoses. When someone ends up overdosing, a loved one, neighbor or bystander will call 911 for help. Some end up dying, some will be hospitalized and others will end up in a treatment facility. Those who survive and return have a few options for help.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Amy Yang, is a mobile health paramedic and is looking to help those who are overdose survivors. Yang recently became part of an initiative in MedStar's service area along with the nonprofit Recover Resource Council, which also attempts to connect quicker with nonfatal overdose survivors in Med Star's service area.

Yang and the team started reaching out to survivors in December, as Tarrant County and the U.S. as a whole saw a high number of overdose deathers from alcohol and drugs. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that deaths from drugs and alcohol jumped in 2020 during the start of the pandemic. It was the first year that the number of people who died from drug use passed 100,000 in the U.S.

The team looks to link overdose survivors with help, which includes Recovery Resource Council and Sean Southern. Each day, Yang prints out a list of survivors and sends them to Southern. Southern spends the day reading each report, as well as personally looking for those who overdosed on opioids. According to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, Southern was in recovery from opioid use disorder, years ago after taking painkillers after a work-related injury.

Southern and Yang will meet with four overdose survivors and offer them a medical screening. They will even listen to them talk about what happened. However, Yang says some will just not be interested in recovery yet.

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I specialize in crime, entertainment and political stories. I have spent eight years as a freelance writer and journalist.

Dallas, TX

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