Tri-Cities officers are saving lives as heroin overdose rates spike

Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 18:42:36-04

PETERSBURG, Va.--  Just halfway through October, the number of heroin overdose calls in both Colonial Heights and Petersburg has risen to 10 percent higher than all the calls made in 2016.

The sobering statistics comes just a month after both departments outfitted their police officers with auto-injectors to save the lives of overdose victims.

On Sunday afternoon, a Petersburg officer broke out the window of a VW to reach an unresponsive woman inside. He administered the first auto-injection but the victim remained unresponsive.

He then used the second auto-injector on his belt, which revived the woman.

After a short time at the hospital, she was charged with felony possession of drugs.

Then 12 hours later, Colonial Heights Police respond to the WaWa on the Boulevard for an unresponsive male in the bathroom.

The victim was turning blue, and the responding officer pulled the auto-injector from his belt and revived him.

Both Colonial Heights and Petersburg Police Departments are the only two departments in the area carrying the auto-injectors.

"We had five overdoses this weekend," says Dr. Dusty Anderson, Medical Director for both Colonial Heights Fire & EMS and Petersburg Fire & EMS. He was instrumental in helping get the auto-injectors donated to both departments.

Of the five overdoses between the two cities, two peoples lives were saved by the auto-injectors.

"We've seen a spike in overdoses, over the past weekend that again, usually with spikes, if you're looking at the numbers, that pretty much entails that there's a bad batch of heroin that's been released in the community," says Dr. Anderson.

Dr. Anderson says users of the illegal need to stop and seek treatment.

"Every time that you go to inject heroin, you're literally playing Russian Roulette with your life, because you have no idea what the potency of this drug is."

Colonial Heights Police are having their third Regional Heroin and Opiate Summit Tuesday night at the high school. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the public is encouraged to attend.