Heroin antidote going fast as drug overdoses increase

First responders carry the heroin antidote so they can save lives.

ST. LOUIS - First responders carry the heroin antidote so they can save lives. But they're quickly going through their supply.

Doctors say manufacturers are making the drug much stronger. So much stronger that a higher dosage of Naloxone is needed to bring people out of an overdose.

Ways of manufacturing heroin are taxing city supplies of the antidote naloxone

“Our projected budget in 2017 just in that drug alone to counteract overdoses of heroin is going to approach $100,000,” said St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson.

This year Jenkerson says he needs $25,000 more dollars for 2018.

The increasing addiction rate is one reason. Another is the potency of the heroin itself.

“It has taken multiple doses of the agent Naloxolone or Narcan to bring these people back,” said Jenkerson.

Manufacturers are lacing the drug with Fentanyl.

“The addictive qualities of heroin especially now that they're combining it with products like fentanyl it's creating an overwhelming number of people that are suffering from this addiction,” said Steven Lorber, St. Louis University Hospital Emergency Department Director.

Lorber says it’s so potent that the drug causes its users to overdose more severely and quickly. It also increases the rate of addiction for first-time users.

“This narcotic use is in engulfing the city it is something we need to pay a close attention to,” Lorber said.

A federal government grant is available to pay for Naloxone but until that money is received, Jenkerson says he will include the cost in his requested budget.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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