Kanawha County Ambulance sees decrease in overdose calls

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 6:47 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - New information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a record number of Americans died from drug overdoses in a 12-month period.

During the pandemic, more than 96,000 drug overdose deaths were reported from March 2020 to March 2021, an increase of nearly 30% more deaths than the year before.

West Virginia and Kentucky are the second and third states respectively, seeing the biggest increase in overdose deaths. West Virginia is seeing a 62% increase, and Kentucky is seeing a 57% increase.

WSAZ reached out to Monica Mason, the executive director for the Kanawha County Ambulance Authority, to see what the trends are locally.

When she ran the numbers, she found from Sept 2019 until Sept 2020, 559 calls came into the dispatch center as an overdose. From Sept 2020 to Sept 2021, 727 calls came in.

However, these are just dispatch calls, and not every one is actually an overdose.

When Mason ran the numbers for calls that were actually overdoses, she was surprised to see a 9.1% decrease in overdoses from Sept 2020 to Sept 2021.

“We look at access to drugs within our area I believe effects those numbers from time to time, so if you’re looking at certain days of the week, if you’re looking at certain times of the month as a whole, you can usually see those peaks throughout the month,” said Mason. “There is a certain time that those, you can particularly tell when that increase is going to be.”

For every call that is actually an overdose, the county quick response team follows up, trying to give those people access to treatment.

From January to September of this year, they followed up on 345 calls.

Masons says they had face to face contact with 130 of those people and 55 of them accepted referral to treatment.

Mason also told us, according to her data in Kanawha County, they see an increase in overdoes on Tuesdays and Saturdays and many happen during midday.

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