Four Heroin Overdoses Reported in Weirton in One Weekend - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Four Heroin Overdoses Reported in Weirton in One Weekend

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The death toll is rising across the Ohio Valley as heroin continues to be the drug of choice.

Just this past weekend, four people overdosed on heroin, two of which resulted in death, in Weirton alone. First responders say it has been a problem in the city for almost a decade, but just recently it's gotten to the point where they're responding to more than one overdose a week.

Chief Jerry Shumate Weirton Fire Department, said, "We run more than one call a week - it's a weekly event -probably three to four a week on drug related heroin overdoses." Shumate says it all depends on how strong the heroin is that is on the market for the number of calls they receive.

It's a staggering statistic, but first responders say there are about 10 drug overdoses a month, which means there's been around 80 overdoses since the beginning of 2014. Shumate continued, "It's become very popular ... it's been a major problem in this town. The drug of choice appears to be heroin, and like I said, depending on the quality and quantity of heroin in the area, there's about one overdose every week."

EMS, fire and police departments can only do so much to fight it, so that's when organizations like "Never Alone WV," step in to educate and help people overcome their addiction. Patti Barnabei has set up a 12-step program for addicts and their family members and is looking to develop an educational program in schools throughout Hancock County. She said, "I think a lot of times people, loved ones, and families are ashamed, and so they don't want to come out in the public about it."

In the end, many community members say it comes down to people working together and utilizing the resources and organizations that are available. To contact Never Alone WV, click here.

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