Elizabeth City Police issue alert after recent spike in suspected heroin-related overdoses

Posted at 6:46 PM, Jun 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-10 17:13:12-04

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - A recent spike in suspected heroin-related overdoses has caused the Elizabeth City Police Department to issue an overdose alert.

The department made the announcement Saturday.

Authorities say law enforcement and EMS personnel in Elizabeth City and the Pasquotank County area have used Narcan several times this week in an attempt to save the lives of people who were overdosing.

Police say the area has seen at least five overdoses in the last 36 hours, with two of them being fatal. Officials say it is uncommon to see that kind of spike in suspected heroin overdoses in such a short span of time.

Since Friday, the Pasquotank-Camden EMS Department Chief said those numbers have gone up again.

“Saying that in just the first 10 days of June, we have surpassed the whole month of May and any other month this year so far. That is reason for alarm," Chief Jerry Newell explained.

Related: Virginia Department of Health reports decline in fatal overdoses

Officials with the Elizabeth City Police Department, the Pasquotank County Sheriff's Office and the Emergency Medical Services Department are all expressing their concerns at the rise of recent heroin overdoses.

Newel told News 3 the increase in overdoses is taking a toll.

“It starts to put a stress on our personnel, one for the higher call volume. We start to run low - we haven’t run out, but we start to run low on our supply," Newell said.

He said the victims are usually males between 20-30 years old.

Just Monday afternoon, the department's Community Paramedicine Coordinator said she took an overdose call.

"Giving it to someone is quite an experience because you see somebody who’s blue, who’s not breathing, and you just give them this medication and they are back. It almost sounds like a miracle," Olivia Dohtery said.

It's a miracle first responders hope will give those addicted a second chance and a new perspective.

"We are concentrating on rehabbing, getting the people to the right facility. We are not concentrating on arresting them," Chief Newell said.

If you need help and/or resources for breaking addiction, the Pasquotank-Camden EMS Community Paramedicine Program is available. You can contact EMS by calling (252) 335-1524 or by clicking on "Contact Us" here.