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Study: People aren't calling for help following drug overdose

Posted: 10:33 PM, Jul 19, 2017
Updated: 2017-07-19 22:33:22-04

INDIANAPOLIS – In the event of a drug overdose, many people aren’t calling 911 for help, researchers find.

A new study completed by IUPUI researchers and the Indiana State Department of Health show many of those administering Narcan – a life-saving drug used to treat overdosed people – did not call 911 in fear of arrest.

"Of those, a good chunk of them said they were afraid of the police or they indicated they didn't call because the person got up and looked fine,” said Dennis Watson of IUPUI Fairbanks School of Public Health.

The findings were based off surveys from about 1,300 people who have picked up Narcan kits in 23 Indiana counties.

Researchers said many people don’t know about Aaron’s Law, which shields those who administer the treatment from any criminal charges.

Mother Justin Phillips helped pass the law after she lost her son to drug overdose nearly four years ago.

"We have to do a lot of convincing to get people to call 911,” said Phillips. “It's sad because we're losing so many people already. We know nationally it's 91 people a day. So, it's really hard to know that we have to lose people not because there isn't a choice, but because of fear of being prosecuted, fear of going to jail."

 

IUPUI researchers said they aren’t finished with their survey, but plan to give their findings to the state in hope of saving lives. 

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