The Corpus Christi Fire Department reports that they get about 50-100 EMS calls every month for drug overdoses, mostly from abuse of opiods like morphine, oxycodone and heroin.
"My sister, she was a cheerleader in high school and always made good grades. She graduated," said Jessica Akin, who lost her sister to opioid abuse. "I was the last person she talked to. I knew she was messed up."
"I knew that she had an opioid addiction to pills, however I did not know that she had gotten further into it with heroin," said Katie Stewart, who also lost a loved one to opioid abuse.
Both women are now counselors at the Palmer Drug Abuse Program, where they sahre their stories, but there are many such stories happening every day.
"I'd say we're averaging probably here at Station 8, probably about one or two a shift maybe," Paramedic Erick Sawyer said.
Sawyer said there has been a steady increase in the number of calls for opioid overdose at his station. Citywide, about a hundred a month and growing.
"That's just one station," Sawyer said. "I mean we probably average quite a few heroin overdoses throughout the day, but like I said, it's getting pretty bad."
"What we've had in the last 10 years is a tremendous increase in deaths from opioid overdose," said Dr. James Mobley, Chairman of the Regional Health Awareness Board. "We're seeing much more of this available. Many more prescriptions are being written and many of those found their way onto the street."
If you have a loved one who is addicted to opioids, Mobley suggests buying an over-the-counter medication.
"Naloxone, Narcan, which is an antidote to opioid overdose, is now available without a prescription," Mobley said. "It recommends that if there's a person in your family who's on high doses of this, that they get that from a pharmacist, so it's an important thing. Those are available."