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Aransas Pass Police Department seeing spike in opioid overdoses

More than 30 states reporting increases in opioid overdoses amid pandemic
Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 19:27:58-05

ARANSAS PASS, Texas — Moriah Lisko is a police officer at the Aransas Pass Police Department. She’s had to issue NARCAN three times recently to people who were overdosing on drugs.

“It’s pretty traumatizing. They turn blue. If you’re not used to seeing something like that, it literally looks like a person dying,” Lisko said.

NARCAN is a prescribed drug to treat narcotic overdose in an emergency situation.

The Aransas Pass Police Department is seeing a rise in the amount of people overdosing on a combination of drugs they call “hot shots”. The “hot shots” can be a combination of any opioid like fentanyl and heroine. Last month the police department had to treat people with NARCAN 25 times in less than than two weeks.

“It’s pretty, pretty stressful. Mostly the only thing that we’re focused on is making sure that we can bring them back,” Lisko said.

Aransas Pass Police Chief Eric Blanchard said they’re seeing a trend when it comes to overdoses. Some of the same people they treated with NARCAN are the same ones they had to treat again on a different occasion, sometimes with multiple doses of the medication.

“We put them in jail, the crime is often considered a minor crime. They’re back out on the street, with no meaningful treatment, rehabilitation, or anything to correct the behavior,” Chief Blanchard said.

Blanchard said because of the cycle, they’re prioritizing getting drug users medical and mental heath help instead of arresting them. He used Facebook to post about different organizations drug users can go to for help.

One of those organizations is the Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse of the Coastal Bend. They use counselors in active recovery to mentor drug users who want to be sober.

“It’s good to know that you have somebody in your corner, you have somebody there for you. It’s important to make those connections because, like I said, you’re going through all these things by yourself,” said Kaylynn Bennet, the media coordinator for the Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse of the Coastal Bend.

Blanchard said he is also willing to sit down with a drug user and speak with them about the options they have.

“In the end, you changing your behavior, changing your criminality, your life from criminality, is an improvement we all benefit from,” he said.