EMS Worker’s Body Camera Shows First-Hand View of Heroin Epidemic
Editor’s note: This video contains disturbing content.
Chad Ward, an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) worker in West Virginia, decided to show body camera footage of a 26-year-old man overdosing on heroin amid an epidemic that has ravaged the East Coast.
In the clip, Ward finds the man, Joey, lying on his bed. He is turning blue and is breathing two times per minute. As more paramedics arrive, they give him Narcan, a drug that reverses a heroin overdose.
“I want these people to know, you were on death’s door,” said Ward.
“I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but truly you were. Another five or 10 minutes could have made a big difference.”
WSAZ-TV obtained the footage, taken in Cabell County, in February. A few days later, on Feb. 22, Ward gave an update to WSAZ.
“I never believed it was going to get that big,” he added.
He said, “When you get a story and it gets out that big, maybe it helped one person to quit doing heroin—decide, ‘This is not for me. I don’t want to risk it.’ Or maybe it helped one person to say, ‘I’m never going to try heroin. I see what it can do.’ Either way, if we helped one person, it was a great story. It was worth it.”
Heroin use has increased by 63 percent from 2002 to 2013, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in 2015. Heroin-related deaths have quadrupled.
“Heroin use has increased rapidly across the U.S. and throughout society,” said CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, according to Time magazine. “With that increase we are seeing a dramatic rise in deaths.”
In 2013, an estimated 517,000 people said that they had used heroin in the last year.
According to a report last year from The New York Times, heroin has seen a sharp increase in the United States in the past year. More than 325 opioid-related deaths were reported last year in New Hampshire alone. From 2012 to 2013, heroin-related deaths increased by 39 percent.
(H/T – Rare.us)