ATCEMS: Program has reduced emergency synthetic drug calls by 60 percent

Paramedics treating synthetic drug cases

AUSTIN - It's no secret that synthetic drug use -- commonly known as "K2" or "spice" -- is a problem in Austin. And now there's a new program that Austin-Travis County EMS said has reduced synthetic drug emergency calls by 60 percent in the last year.

Those working for Austin-Travis County EMS' "Community Health Program" (CHP) spend a lot of time Downtown serving people who can't leave their community -- such as the homeless -- to take care of the medical and health care services they need. Those medical needs can include a wide range of things, but one issue members of the CHP respond to are bad reactions to synthetic drugs among the homeless.

CHP is able to administer aid to those people before a 911 call is ever made.

Through this program, ATCEMS reports they've seen about a 60 percent reduction in emergency calls from the population it serves in the last year.

Every call prevented is one less pricey bill and possibly one less emergency care visit, ATCEMS said.

"We are ALS (Advanced Life Support) providers so we can do an assessment to determine if this person needs to go to the hospital or not," paramedic Amber Price said.

The CHP is mainly funded through the city. To learn more go here.

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