POTTSVILLE, Pa. -- Pottsville police are investigating a number of overdoses in the city within the last week. at least one of those resulted in a death.
Schuylkill County's paramedics are among the first on the scene when an overdose occurs.
"I think we had probably at least six overdoses within the three days that we were on," Schuylkill EMS Paramedic Crew Chief Jason Sterner said.
"When there's a new shipment of heroin or something comes into the area, we get an uptick in calls that involve overdoses," Schuylkill EMS Education and Community Outreach Coordinator Patrick Moran said.
The paramedics said when they get to an overdose call, police are usually already there. Either the police officers or the paramedics will give the overdose victim Narcan. Pottsville Police said the medication had to be used on five people over the weekend.
"When we get on scene and people are barely breathing, this is the only drug that is going to reverse the effects of the opioid," Moran said.
Paramedics, like Jason Sterner, describe overdose calls as stressful.
"It's just not a safe situation for anybody," Sterner said. "Obviously, you've got the illegal drugs, so you know there is going to be other things going on there. Like I said, other than just the patients, it's the other people that are there with them that haven't overdosed yet that can be a serious concern, too."
Schuylkill EMS' community outreach coordinator spends time trying to inform the community on the dangers of drugs and overdoses.
"Overdosing is part of an overall problem," Moran said. "We need to make sure that education is put out not only for our kids but for the adults."
The paramedics point out, what happened the past week is just a taste of the opioid problem that's been impacting the county for years.