During 2015, Adams Regional Emergency Services (AREMS) responded to 160 opioid related overdoses, and recently the responders received a thankyou letter from one of those patients.
“My name is Tiana. I’m a recovering addict” the letter reads.
“I started using when I was 12 years old. I love my life today in recovery.”
“No one explained to me how by using, it would be progressive and fatal. They never warned me that I’d live in the pits of hell. They never told me how heart broken my family and friends would be waiting and watching me slowly die. No one told me.”
“I cannot explain how grateful I am for the 1st responders, EMTs, nurses, doctors cops, CYS,”
“My cry for help wasn’t heard until I kept odding [sic]. The tough love I received saved my life. I owe my life to you.”
“I do that by staying clean. Being an example. Being a mom, a daughter, a sister, an auntie. I do that by taking meetings into the Adams County Jail on a monthly basis.”
“Ya [sic] know, thank you. Thank you for working long hours away from your children, wives, husbands to save lives of addicts. Even when you say to yourself ‘when is this junkie, alcoholic, crack head going to get it and choose life?’”
“It’s exhausting, but I thank you for continuously saving the lives of addicts.”
“I know you’re tired. I’m tired too. I’m tired of watching any addict die from drugs. I’m tired of seeing my girls get out of jail just to be re-booked for a dirty urine. I’m tired of moms crying out for their children, but won’t put down the crack pipe. I’m tired.”
“But… I won’t give up. Love + Tolerance. #Wedorecover”
“Thank you for never giving up on me. Thank you for doing your very best to keep me alive for my kids, my family, my friends, and most importantly – myself.”
“I am somebody today because you saved my life.”
“Thank you from the bottom of my full, very happy + healthy heart.”
Eric Zaney, B.S., NRP, EMS Chief of AREMS, told us that crews responded to this patient on three separate occasions.
“Twice she had overdosed and stopped breathing. We never gave up hope. Crews performed life-saving treatment and transport and did their best to help start the recovery process.”
“The impact of the letter to all field crews at Adams Regional EMS is simply ‘This is why we do the job’. To witness first-hand a positive impact that EMS made in the eyes of recovering addict is amazing, how many more people will her story be the one that now makes a difference and assists other addicts to seek recovery for themselves their children, families. The strength it took for her to read her letter to crews while choking back tears and the look of thanks for not letting me die, for not judging me for my addiction and most importantly caring and being nice to me is something we will never forget.”
“We have always stayed additional time on-scene to get patients to agree to hospital transport for possible recovery follow-up and currently maintain a low refusal rate. Those that do refuse transport are followed up with the next day and explained what occurred during their overdose and treatment received and again offered transport to the hospital or a recovery by EMS.”
AREMS have so far only responded to 71 opioid related overdoses in 2019 since implementing aggressive education/recovery program information, warm hand-off’s and community Narcan programs to include “Leave Behind Kits” with patients/friends/family members by EMS.
Adams Regional EMS operates 8 (eight) ambulances out of four stations within Adams County Pennsylvania (South Central Pennsylvania). Coverage area is a combination of suburban/rural communities – 24 different boroughs or townships is our primary response area within the county providing mutual aid or ALS support to the other services within the county.
Story & Images posted with consent