Phoenix Fire: Opioid-related overdose calls on the rise

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Phoenix firefighters answer countless calls a day, and more than ever before, these calls are for an overdose.

"It affects young professionals, it's in the nice neighborhoods, everywhere unfortunately," Capt. Rob McDade said. "That's why we think the numbers are so high. No body is immune."

Capt. McDade says no one could have predicted the surge. He calls the epidemic a silent killer.

"The deaths are probably related to the fact that we have a drug," he said. "We can save them now. We're having to use it more."

You can administer it with a needs or nasally, too.

Engines all contain a drug box and inside that box is several doses of Narcan, which counteracts an opioid overdose.

Firefighters say today, the supply has to be endless.

"Before it seemed one dose and the patient would pop right up and now it's taking several, sometimes your whole box of all the Narcan we have on the truck and it's still not bringing them back," Sean Bogue said.

Right now, the Phoenix Fire Department is tracking every opioid-related call and the data is all being collected.

"We work with the state and federal government. The president declared a national emergency, so we're constantly educating ourselves," Capt. McDade said. "We're going to have a really good number on how many people it's affecting and was it successful."

The hope is to compare local numbers to the national statistics and to find a way to beat this problem.