LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – As the sun begins to set in Louisville Metro, most drivers are headed home after an eight hour day, but for first responders on the lookout for heroin overdoses, their shift has just begun
WHAS11 News went for a ride with Louisville EMS Major Bill Lohden, responding to heroin overdoses going on throughout the Metro.
Our journey started at 5:30 Friday night and lasted until 8 p.m. During those two and a half hours, Division 2 responded to two confirmed heroin overdoses. Major Lohden says he usually sees more.
“Normally the classic presentation when we find these people, they’re turning blue because they don't have oxygen, they're not breathing, or they're barely gasping for a breath,” Major Bill Lohden with Louisville EMS said.
Major Lohden has been with Louisville EMS for 22 years and says there's been a significant spike in heroin overdoses this year.
“There are definitely a lot more now than there were when I started,” he explained.
Why now? He says the answer is simple – stronger heroin.
“A new batch of heroin hits the streets, and it's been mixed with fentanyl or other medications to make the effect more desirable to them, and they shoot up the same amount and the next thing you know they're on the ground not breathing, because you have no idea what you're putting in your body.”
Major Lohden says it's his job to save their lives, but hopes addicts will work towards saving their own lives, too.
“It is sad to see these people that if you take them in at 1 in the afternoon and are back out with them again at 10 at night, it's really sad,” he said.
The two calls we witnessed with Louisville EMS were within two and a half hours. Major Lohden says they responded to at least three more that evening.