Marion County overdoses being reported at record pace

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Jamie Guilfoy has been a policeman in Indianapolis for the past 19 years.

When he wasn’t guiding a patrol car through the neighborhoods of the southeast side, Guilfoy was participating in deep narcotics investigations as a detective on the Metro Drug Task Force, so he’s seen the toll illegal drug trafficking can take.

Now, with four overdose runs in the last month, Guilfoy is on the front lines of witnessing Indianapolis’ craving for drugs.

“This house right here was a big problem house for us,” said Guilfoy as he slowed his cruiser to a stop in the 3700 block of Pleasant Run Parkway North Drive where flowers and balloons marked the place where Stefanie Coulson was shot to death last March. “There was a homicide here. The girl that lived here was a well known heroin user. Not just her but the people she hung out with. We’ve had overdoses here. Multiple overdoses here and earlier this year she was murdered in the house there.

Since June 1, IMPD’s Southeast District has logged 41 calls for overdose help, one more than Southwest District, and far ahead of the rest of the city.

From the first of the year through this past Monday, 911 emergency operators received 1,774 calls for overdoses, almost 50 percent more than were dispatched a year ago when Marion County set a record.

Indianapolis EMS crews have already administered 856 doses of Naloxone, an opioid antidote, since Jan. 1.

In contrast, by June 30, 2016, EMS had treated overdosing patients with Naloxone 768 times.

At $1,500 per ambulance ride and $40 per Naloxone dose, Marion County’s addiction to drugs is costing taxpayers and users a record amount this year.

“We’ve got a few residences around the area that are what we call, ‘repeat houses ,’” said Guilfoy, “where more than one person’s overdosed at that residence. Sometimes it’s the same person, sometimes it’s a different person.”

In the 4800 block of Hyperion Court, police and EMS crews have been called to one house six times this year. There were three overdose calls to the same house on Moline Drive over the course of five days this month. A residence on Tuxedo Street was the site of four overdose runs in a month this spring.

“I’ve been to the same house on several different times,” said Guilfoy. “Most of the time they are in denial that they’ve used anything.”

EMS crews notice their overdose numbers go up on the 1st and 15th of the month, and that was certainly true June 1, the high point of this month so far, when there were 18 calls for overdose help.

Guilfoy said more users are overdosing in public places, confident they will be rescued if they’ve gone too far.

“They know that the police and EMS have Narcan on board and they’re concern for themselves is that if they overdose that somebody would find them.”

Despite his years as a narc, Guilfoy takes a realistic view of the city’s battle against drugs.

“Drugs don’t discriminate. You’re not necessarily a criminal because you use drugs,” he said. “People are going to do whatever they need to do to get their drugs to satisfy their craving.”

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