LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It’s the sound that echoes off buildings in downtown Little Rock… sirens. In many cases, ambulances head to UAMS.
“We tend to see a fair number of overdoses,” says UAMS Professor and Chair of Emergency Medicine Dr. Rawle Seupaul.
Dr. Seupaul says the Emergency Room will see at least one overdose patient a day, overdosing on drugs ranging from pain killers to heroin.
“There are newer agents hitting the street that are much more potent. People are getting much more creative,” says Dr. Seupaul.
Little Rock Police officials say overdose death numbers so far in 2018 are concerning.
Since January 1st, at least five people died from an overdose. Officers have responded to 34 overdose calls and 16 NARCAN units have been administered to reverse an overdose.
“If any of those calls somebody could’ve died on those calls,” says Officer Moore.
Officer Moore says at this time last year, only one person had died from an overdose. Fast-forward one year later, people are overdosing nearly anywhere.
“We’re finding them in houses, all over the city. It doesn’t really hit one area. We’re also finding people in restaurants and parking lots,” says Officer Moore.
As the opioid crisis devastates communities, it’s also crippling local hospitals, dealing with another health crisis.
“We’re at capacity for a number of reasons. For right now, the flu and flu-like illnesses are pushing our capacity beyond 100 percent,” says Dr. Seupaul.
Doctors say most overdoses do not require patients to stay in the hospital very long which helps free up bed space.
Officer Moore says narcotic detectives are working these overdoses and developing a database so they can start tracking how certain drugs are getting into town.