Overdoses on the decline in county

Published 9:06 am Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Director attributes lower numbers to programs

Lawrence County EMS Director Buddy Fry was pleased to announce that drug overdose numbers in the county have been steadily declining in recent months from the beginning of the year at last week’s county commission meeting over the weekend.

“Drug overdose runs in the county are way down,” Fry said. “We had 59 drug overdose runs in January 2017. In July, we were down to 34, and in August, we were down to 27. That is a magnificent improvement.”

Fry added that although there’s no evidence to show why the decline has occurred, he attributed it to programs that have been implemented in the county to try and beat the drug epidemic.

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“We don’t have any scientific data to say why that is exactly,” he said. “But we do know the prosecutor and sheriff have some new programs that they have put into effect.”

Fry said that EMS has been working with the prosecutor and sheriff, and after EMS assists an overdose victim, they visit that person and either offer them rehab or charge them with possession of drugs or other related charges to the case within the time limitations of the statute of limitations.

“I think that’s really been helping and the numbers are showing,” Fry said. “That’s all good news for Lawrence County.”

While drug overdose runs have decreased, the overall runs EMS has had to make have increased, as Fry said EMS has been as busy as ever.

Fry said that overall runs have increased by 24 percent since it started in 2011, and attributed that to the population growing older and more and more people moving into the baby boomer generation.

A 2-mill levy to allow Lawrence County EMS its own source of revenue will be on the November ballot countywide this year.

Currently, EMS shares revenue with 911 and the county sheriff’s office.

Commission has been pushing the passage of the levy since it came about earlier this year, stating that if not passed, county EMS will be significantly reduced with the possibility of being cut out altogether.