Fargo Police Notices Uptick in Opioid Overdoses Since August
There have been nine 9-1-1 calls to tend to opioid overdoses since August 1
FARGO, N.D. — For the last few years, tackling opioid addiction has been a major battle for law enforcement across the metro.
Even though 2018 has seen fewer opioid–related deaths, Fargo Police officers say they still have work to do.
“We went from 20 opioid deaths to this year; we’re down to only six overdose deaths. On the current trend, it will be eight or nine. I say ‘only’ in a kind of grim way. That’s way too many still,” said Lt. Shannon Ruziska of the Fargo Police Department.
Prior to the start of August, Fargo Police only fielded nine calls about opioid overdoses.
Since then, there have been nine calls about opioid overdoses, one of which ended in a death.
Even if people are using opioids, there are laws in North Dakota and Minnesota that provide immunity to people who act immediately by calling 9–1–1 and tending to the person who is overdosing.
“You don’t need to worry about being charged or arrested for possession of drugs. The focus of the law is to make sure people are calling immediately,” said Lt. Ruziska.
One method that could save a person’s life is through the use of Narcan, which reverses the effects of opioids on the brain.
But paramedics say you should still call 9–1–1 after Narcan is applied.
“If there’s enough opioids in their system, the opioid could reattach when the Narcan wears off, so we want them to get to the emergency room and get medical help as soon as possible,” said Melissa Markegard of Fargo Cass Public Health.
If you come across someone having an overdose and you don’t have any Narcan with you, paramedics want you to call 9–1–1 immediately and start applying rescue breaths every five seconds.
Even with the different ways people can help with an overdose, Ruziska wants people to know that officers want to help in any way they can.
“When we show up, our goal is to safe that life. We’re not looking to do anything other than help them save a life,” said Ruziska.
FM Ambulance also responded to more opioid–related calls since August, administering Narcan in twelve different cases.