Chesterton Tribune



Town Council hears of rise in heroin overdoses in Burns Harbor

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Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds has said that heroin is not just a problem in Porter County, but an epidemic.

The drug has made its way into all communities including Burns Harbor, which had an “unusually high amount” of heroin related overdoses in the last few weeks, Fire Chief Bill Arney announced at Wednesday’s Burns Harbor Town Council meeting.

Last week alone, there were three overdoses in town, Arney said, and there were two others last month.

“Even here in Burns Harbor, we’ve experienced a pretty good incline on that,” Arney said. “It’s definitely an increase.”

The abusers are not residents, however, but rather people passing through town, he said.

Council President Ray Poparad acknowledged that “it is a problem in town.”

“It’s not so much our residents but people passing through. If there are problems, we get dispatched and everything goes from there,” he said.

Heroin has been a problem throughout the entire Northwest Indiana region, Poparad noted. He said there were reports of 18 deaths in LaPorte County from overdoses last month, Poparad said.

“Just when you think it’s not in your neighborhood, it is,” said Council member Eric Hull.

Resident Paulene Poparad asked if the Town’s emergency service vehicles have Narcan, a nasal spray medicine that is given to block the effects of opioids on the brain. Ray Poparad’s said that each squad car has one and so does the ambulance. Arney added that each first response truck also has one.

Town Marshal Mike Heckman said police have used Narcan units five times so far after receiving them about a year ago.

Arney concurred Narcan is highly effective. “We’ve used it and all but one (overdose) we have been able to revive,” he said.

Monthly report

Both Heckman and Arney said that February has been a particularly busy month for their departments.

Arney’s fire report noted that 40 calls were responded to last month, 33 of which were EMS response calls. Six calls were for vehicle accidents and one was for an automobile fire. Total hours on scene for emergency calls were 18 hours and 54 minutes.

Fire vehicles traveled a total of 2,198 miles. There were 101.5 hours spent on training and 12 duty hours for a total of 113.5 man hours.

The Council on Wednesday approved CCD funds to pay for a fire department truck and to decommission and dispose of the old air bags in one of the trucks. Arney said the bags have been replaced with new ones.



Posted 3/10/2017




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