Indianapolis drug experts say heroin use has swelled over the past two years, leading to a troubling number of overdoses and deaths unlike anything the city has seen in more than a decade, reports the Indianapolis Star. The spike came suddenly, spotted by emergency medical technicians who noticed last year they were responding to more runs related to heroin and its sister sedatives, prescription opioids such OxyContin, Codeine and Percocet. “I've been in this system for almost 15 years. I have not seen as much heroin in my career as I've seen in the last two years,” said Scott Campbell of the Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services department.
About 630 times last year, EMS crews arrived fast enough to inject the patients with a powerful antidote called naloxone. The drug can reverse a heroin or prescription opioid overdose almost instantaneously. Often an overdose is fatal. Last year, 110 people died in Indianapolis from a fatal heroin overdose, a number that has doubled over the past threeyears. The U.S. Government Accountability Office traces the painkiller boom back to 1995, when the Food and Drug Administration approved a controlled-release pain pill called OxyContin in response to complaints that patients with cancer and other chronic diseases were not getting the pain relief they needed.