Increase in overdose calls to Perry Co. Ambulance Service

By: Paige Quiggins Email
By: Paige Quiggins Email

They save lives on a daily basis, but ambulance service officials in Perry County said they are noticing a disturbing trend a steady increase in overdose calls.

The Perry County Ambulance Service has been around since the late 1970's, but they said that during the past five years, one type of emergency call has become all too common.

“Ambulance services need to be utilized for emergencies only, emergency situations,” said Matthew Couch of the Perry County Ambulance Service.

In 14 years as the service director, Couch has seen his share of those situations. He said that while many of the calls are for legitimate help, others are from people who may have ulterior motives.

“We get our fair share of abuse cases and in fact a lot of them are drug related,” said Couch.

Anyone in the entire Perry County area would receive an ambulance from the service when in need of medical assistance. The director said there could be a common link between the needs for the phone calls coming in.

“Over the last five years we have seen a fairly large increase in numbers in drug related type cases,” Couch said.

Couch said many of those calls are over doses, some resulting in deaths, but others are repeat offenders.

“You see the same people over and over and over again with the same type of complaints utilizing the ambulance service,” said Couch.

The age range of people overdosing is spread out.

“We see a lot of young lives destroyed by drugs, we are a first hand witness of that here,” Couch said.
“This is a small community and as these cases continue to pick up, you kind of wonder, where is the end of it?”

He and others said that they will help as many people as they can, but the issue is unsettling. Like many others, they have limited resources and they are hoping that the amount of overdoses will one day decrease, but will continue to do what they can to save those lives in the mean time.

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