“This stuff will kill you,” HEMSI officials on opiate/heroin epidemic

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Three people are recovering after a drug overdose in Madison County.  HEMSI officials tell us the call came in around 2:30 Thursday morning.

It's scenes like that first responders are calling a public health crisis.

"What happens is that there wasn't anybody around when they shot up, their trip isn't to the hospital it's to the funeral home," said Don Webster with HEMSI.

Webster said HEMSI has responded to more than 400 overdose calls in 2017 and 44 just in the month of June.

"This is not just in Huntsville or Madison County or Alabama this is nationwide. The opiate and heroin usage is becoming a major public health crisis," explained Webster.

A crisis he believes needs to be fought with education.

"This stuff will kill you. You don't take something and shoot it up your vein unless you're in a healthcare facility," said Webster, "It does not care whether you're male or female. It doesn't care the color of your skin, where you live, it knows no boundaries," said Webster.

Webster said exposing the epidemic is the only way to help break the cycle.

The Birmingham Division of the FBI and the the Drug Enforcement Administration is hosting a free screening of "Chasing the Dragon, The Life of an Opiate Addict."

A discussion will be held after the film in Huntsville. It's scheduled to be on June 27 at Lee High School.

The event starts and 6 p.m. and ends 8:30 p.m.