Rockford Fire received more than 160 overdose calls by July 31 - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford Fire received more than 160 overdose calls by July 31

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

President Donald Trump's administration pledges to tackle the opioid problem nationwide and right here at home

For the Rockford Fire department, calls for overdoses are pretty common. 

"As an average, crews are responding to a suspected overdoes every 36 hours," Lt. Bob Vertiz, the EMS Coordinator with the Rockford Fire Department. 

Rockford Fire says the number of calls is about to get worse. 

"Pretty soon we'll be responding to a suspected overdose every 10 to 12 hours," Vertiz said. 

And it helps paint a grim picture about the opioid crisis here in Rockford. The department says as of July 31st. This year, its already seen 165 suspected overdoses. Last year during that same time, that number was 126. 

Taking a look back at Rockford's Opioid problem-- it actually started seeing improvement. 

In 2012 , the area saw 241 suspected overdose cases.  In 2013, that number dropped to 207. In 2014, it dropped again to 180. But, in 2015 it rose slightly to 181. Last year, that number jumped to 208.

That's a roughly 15 percent jump from 2015 to 2016. Across the country opioid abuse is on the rise and that's why President Trump says he's getting involved. He says we need more early intervention, tough border enforcement and more federal drug prosecutions. 

"I'm very impressed that president and the federal government are aware of the epidemic that is going on around this country," Juliana Sliger, an addiction counselor with Remedies Renewing Lives said. 

Remedies For Renewing Lives has also seen an uptick within the past year in the number of people coming in for addiction treatment. It's something the organization says falls on everyone's shoulders. 

"Every person in the community whether its a doctor, police officer, the medical facility -- all of us play a part in stepping up in whatever we can as a community," Sliger said. 

A nationwide epidemic affecting several people here at home -- but some say it's up to everyone to make sure it doesn't continue to spread. 

Rockford Fire says its administered Narcan -- a drug that helps reverse overdose side effects--- nearly 2,400 times as of July 31st. Often times when they respond, it may take more than one dose to revive the patient. 


 

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