***Not for the Faint of Heart***
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For my next article, I wanted to show you what it looks like when bad drugs come through an area. This article will also be shorter than my usual ones.
I know you're probably saying, “All drugs are bad.” Yes, that is very true; however, I’m talking about the drugs that are not made correctly. It happens more often than you think. Again, I’m here to give you a different perspective of what that looks like.
Now I will say I don’t know about every type of drug. I’m not the main character Walter White in Breaking Bad or a narcotics Detective. However, as a dispatcher, I’ve been around long enough to know when a bad batch of drugs has hit an area.
We are definitely in an opioid crisis. When I first started in 911, heroin was making a comeback. Now it seems to be all about fentanyl.
So the day that I came into work, it was around 14:00 (2 p.m.). It was colder outside, and not a lot was going on. But as you probably guessed, I jinxed it.
About an hour later, I noticed a bunch of calls hitting my screen that were overdoses. The paramedics and fire department were already heading to that, but the police will also go.
If I remember correctly, I had about ten calls, all overdoses, hit my screen within a few minutes of each other.
All the calls read: My friend is overdosing, my daughter is overdosing, and my brother is.
The other calls read My friend, and I are homeless, and I believe he is overdosing.
The list continued, but it was all in one particular area.
I hate to say it because that is not the first time drugs have come through that area, but this was the first time I saw people dying. It was one at a time.
When the paramedics, fire department, and police officers got there. They were all giving Narcan to every person they found. However, that wasn’t enough. It could have already been too late, and Narcan wouldn’t haven’t taken any effect. The next thing I saw on all the calls was that everyone was getting CPR up and down this street.
Something different happened that day. Out of those ten calls that hit my screen, everyone died. Was it an overdose, or was it due to something that might have been in the drug?
About an hour later, seven more overdose calls hit my screen. But this time, It was about five streets over. It was still nearby.
I read through the calls; they were all very similar to my last ten calls.
The notes read: I believe my friend has died, he did fentanyl, and I think I am starting to overdose now. My sister is overdosing; I think she is dying.
It went on and on from there.
Paramedics, the fire department, and the police luckily were not far off, but on the streets, they were currently on, they had to stay because everyone had died. Therefore, that whole street became a giant crime scene.
The following officers I had in service were sent to the seven other overdoses. They got there and immediately started giving everyone Narcan. When three doses of Narcan didn’t work, they started doing CPR. The paramedics did their best to work their way to the other patients, but many were stuck on the previous calls.
Unfortunately, three of those people had died as well. So in two hours, thirteen people died from the drugs they had taken.
And it didn’t stop there. Other dispatchers were getting similar calls. And it was an exuberant amount. This scenario lasted about two weeks until the next round of drugs came through
When I watched this happen on my screen, it felt like I knew the path of the drug dealer. Every time other calls dropped, I knew where they were at the time and where they were going next.
One officer did get on the radio and said, “I think some bad drugs came through here. I’ve been in this for twenty years, and people do drugs, but something is wrong with this particular kind. I don’t know what it is.”
Every officer, paramedic, and firefighter, myself included, couldn’t help but agree.
The horrific truth is that it is hard to stop once that particular drug is out there.
The most challenging part for me was seeing it on the map. I knew where one or multiple were dealing drugs and couldn’t stop them. It already broke containment, if you will.
What also bothered me was that there were not enough officers to help try and track down the drug dealers with the harmful drugs. They all had to stay at the crime scene.
I have given you one day and one scenario of what bad drugs coming through an area look like. And it is still something that we fight daily.
I'll repeat it, this isn't Breaking Bad, but whatever drugs came through that area on that particular day were not made correctly. It could have been on purpose or an honest mistake. That is yet another question and answer I will never know.
This day was particularly rough, and it was difficult to see that many people die in a short amount of time.
You all know the opioid crisis, and I can’t say it is improving.
For help finding crisis resources, I have provided a link to National Hotlines.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Hotline
Thank you all for letting me share!
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More Articles to come!