LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service is seeing another record-breaking year in the total number of calls for service and drug overdoses. However, 2018's increase wasn't quite as significant as the year before.
The Tippecanoe Emergency Ambulance Service responded to about 300 more calls in 2018. The total number of calls for service reached 20,400.
"That's not a bad thing, it shows you know, the growth of Lafayette," said TEAS Director Darrell Clase.
But Clase said call volume does need to stay manageable. He believes public education helps. People don't always know when 911 is appropriate.
"We'll actually have people say you know, can you just take me to the clinic? Well, by state laws we can't we have to go to an emergency department," said Clase.
On January 1, 2019 the Tippecanoe Ambulance Service added a seventh vehicle to its fleet. It has already proven to be successful during recent snow storms.
"From Friday night midnight until Saturday midnight we responded to 135 calls in that 24 hours which is about double our normal call volume and we had all 7 trucks up and running for most of that time frame," said Clase. "It's definitely proving its worth."
Although every drug overdose category in 2018 was up from 2017. Clase said the difference wasn't as significant as years prior.
"I'm hoping some of that relates to all of the education that's been going on, you know, from the different public service agencies," said Clase.
He said there are a lot of eyes on the drug problem. It's even created a change in inventory.
"We've actually taken morphine out of our mix this year. So, we are not carrying that opiate based medication anymore on our truck," said Clase. Instead, TEAS switched to a non-opioid based drug called ketamine.
"Recent studies show that low dose ketamine is very effective for pain control," said Clase.
Though overall numbers are higher this year, Clase is confident in recent changes.
"I'm optimistic for 2019 that we will start to see a decline," said Clase.
According to the data, heroin calls increased by 5, meth went up by 16, there were 30 more spice related calls and 29 more prescription drug overdoses in 2018 compared to 2017.