Paramedic shares frustrations with opioid epidemic

Paramedic supervisor Tad Thompson said going back to the same patients multiple times is frustrating because they aren’t receiving proper treatment


By EMS1 Staff

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A paramedic expressed his frustrations with the opioid epidemic and the lack of treatment available for users who suffer repeat overdoses.

WSIL3 reported that Jackson County Ambulance Service paramedic supervisor Tad Thompson said resources are being wasted on a problem that is preventable.

"I had one patient, who I responded to, administered naloxone, and when she came to she asked me how much it took that time," Thompson said.

Thompson said emergency crews have to respond to the same overdose patient multiple times because they don’t get the treatment they need when they are dropped off at the emergency room.

"When we treat these patients, our only recourse is to send them to the emergency department which is not the appropriate facility to deal with an addiction problem," he said. "We are taking up time, we are tying up a paramedic ambulance on someone who doesn't have to be in that situation.”

Thompson’s hope is that opioid restrictions will increase soon since he often sees patients who are prescribed too much and end up overdosing.

He added that the epidemic was so bad a year ago that EMS providers had to double the standard dosage they gave to patients because the normal amount was not enough to revive them.

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