BOISE — So far this year in Ada County, 105 people have died from drug overdoses. According to the Ada County Sheriff's Office, the majority of cases involve middle-aged adults. One recent case shows kids are also getting close to opioids.
On November 29, Ada County Deputy Jason Piccola was called to a home in Boise for a heroin overdose involving a 16-year-old girl.
"It took several minutes with the family there watching," explained Piccola. "It was pretty gut-wrenching knowing their kid may not potentially come back from it. I was able to administer a second dose which in conjunction with the first reversed the effects of the opioid."
The nasal inhaler Narcan brought the girl back to life. It was the first time an Ada County deputy has used it on a call.
"We're on the road 24 hours a day and the fastest first responder will administer the Narcan and hopefully reverse the effects," Piccola said.
In 2017, all nine K9 units in Ada County started carrying a box with two doses of Narcan inside.
"We, as K9 deputies, are around narcotics our whole entire shift and so we are more common to come in contact with opioids and other narcotics as well as the dogs," Piccola said.
Meaning that carrying Narcan can also be a lifesaver for deputies and their canine partners.
Piccola says the need to carry the medication is becoming more evident.
"I'm finding heroin weekly and that's across the board with every K9 in Ada County, so it is becoming a problem and definitely becoming an epidemic," Piccola said.
His advice is to get help for loved ones you believe could be addicted to opioids, like prescription pain relievers, heroin and fentanyl. He also urges parents to talk with kids early about drug abuse.
"It's never to early to start talking to them," Piccola said. "If you're not talking to them someone else is."
In this recent case involving a 16-year-old, the Ada County Sheriff's Office said she overdosed on heroin she got with her 20-year-old boyfriend, Marshall Schrick. He has been arrested and is in jail on a $175,000 bond.
Paramedics are usually the first on scene of an overdose call. According to Ada County Paramedics, they have administered Narcan over 70 times so far this year.
Narcan can be purchased at pharmacies. Health care professionals recommend family and friends who believe their loved one is at risk of an overdose keep it nearby just in case.