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Overdose Crisis: The battle against opioid abuse in central Indiana

Posted at 6:16 PM, May 12, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS -- The heroin epidemic is happening everywhere. No zip code, gender or race is immune.

But the victims are real. 

The calls for help happen at all hours of the day, but data from Indianapolis EMS and police over the past few years shows that they’re most likely to occur around three specific times:

  • Fridays between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Saturdays around 8 p.m.
  • Sundays around 1 a.m.  

Every first responder in Marion County carries Naloxone and so far in 2018, they've already had to use more than 600 doses - that's an average of five overdoses every day this year. 

Call 6 Investigates’ Paris Lewbel and photojournalist Dave Marren spent four days on the road listening to the scanner and responding to overdose scenes, watching the drug crisis unfold in real time - and what they witnessed was eye-opening.

At almost every scene, first responders had to use life-saving Naloxone to reverse the overdose effects and bring a person back to life.

The drug worked at every scene except one on the city’s southeast side where a 19-year-old lost their life to an overdose. 

It’s impossible for crews to connect with all of the victims they treat – and most of the time they don’t even file a report – because they have no intention of seeking criminal charges.

In Indianapolis, the number of repeat overdose victims is overwhelming.

Data obtained by Call 6 Investigates shows that more than 13 percent of overdoses emergency crews respond to are for repeat patients.

But it isn't just the heart of Indiana that's suffering. The epidemic has crept into every corner of the state, including the small cities like Liberty. 

Kaylin Fairchild, 26, says she fought with her addiction for years, but it took back-to-back overdoses to make her realize the path she was on could only end one way - death. 

"There is help out there but you have to be willing to take that step. You have to be willing to do what is required to save your life," said Fairchild. "If you want to live, you'll get the help. If not, it's going to end up killing you."

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