Lubbock ER's See Number of High Overdose Cases - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/3/05

Lubbock ER's See Number of High Overdose Cases

Two to three people are treated for overdoses at Lubbock hospitals each week. But since Thomas Mallory died, have hospital's seen any changes? News channel 11 takes a look at the numbers to find out if Mallory's death is raising awareness.

The Mallory family attorney sent NewsChannel 11 an e-mail, saying the family hopes the case and media coverage would raise awayness about the dangers of ecstasy. We wanted to see if we could track the level of awareness in our city by asking area hospitals about the number of overdose cases they've seen since June tenth. Their answers were surprising.

A parent's worst nightmare would be finding out their child overdosed on drugs and died in the emergency room. But it's a nightmare doctors are all too familiar with. Michael Chamales, a UMC Doctor says, "Teens think they're invincible, parents think 'Oh, my kid would never do that." University Medical Center's ER has not seen a major change in overdose cases. They have had ten OD's since June, the only death was 16-year-old Thomas Mallory. Dr. Chamales says, "When you see an accidental death like Mallory, you realize any illicit drug is too much."

UMC did say there was a brief spike in overdoses the week after June 10th, one reason attributed to people learning the only way to help is to get help right away. "They need to come in as quickly as possible. The longer they wait, the more damage that could be done."

Covenant Health System has had seven drug overdoses with no deaths since June, but they're expecting that number to increase as college students return. Dr. Juan Fitz says, "The last couple weeks we've seen people completely unconscious, they have to be recessed. We will continue to see deaths because Americans want a pill for everything."

Doctors say if there's one way the Thomas Mallory case can make a difference, it would be for parents to openly talk with their kids about drugs and explain one-time can be the last time.

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