By Lauren Adams, WLKY

A growing drug problem in Louisville Metro has first responders labeling it an “epidemic.”

By 10 p.m. Thursday, they responded to 43 overdose calls, including a driver who overdosed at a busy intersection.

“Overdoses know no boundaries, they can be in any area of the city. As is evident today, at a busy intersection in a car,” Major Chris Lokits, with Louisville EMS, said of the incident.

Near Hurstbourne Parkway and Westport Road, a passenger in a black pickup truck had fatally overdosed on what was believed to be heroin. The driver also overdosed, passing out behind the wheel and causing a minor wreck.

“It’s terrible, especially in the middle of the day, right here on Westport Road, right in the middle of traffic,” driver Arnold Steyn said.

It was one of 20 overdose runs Louisville EMS had gone to before 4 p.m. Thursday. They also responded to a fast food restaurant at 18th and Hill in West Louisville. That’s where a man was found in a Rally’s bathroom. Thanks to Narcan, he survived.

Narcan, an antidote containing naloxone, revives people who have overdosed on opioids such as heroin or prescription painkillers

Mitchell Burmeister, a spokesmann with Louisville EMS said Thursday’s runs were not out of the ordinary. “This past month, we had 695 overdoses we responded to as EMS. That’s a 33 percent increase up from last January.”

Major Lokits with Louisville EMS said his crews were being stretched thin as they respond to every part of the city — sometimes using dozens of units of Narcan a day to save lives. That includes the driver of that black pickup truck, a driver he says could have done more damage than a minor fender bender.

“It is a problem that affects us all, even if us as individuals aren’t the one overdosing. Certainly, other people’s actions can impact our lives,” Lokits said, adding first responders were working with community partners to get addicts help.

The driver of the car that was hit near Hurstbourne and Westport Road received just a bump on the head and was treated on scene. The driver of the black pickup truck was taken to University Hospital. Police have not yet commented on possible charges.

[dc_ad size="9"] [dc_ad size="10"]