A 44-year-old West Virginia woman overdosed after getting high on heroin and crashed into a police cruiser escorting a funeral procession. The unidentified woman ran through a red light and hit the Huntington law enforcement officer’s cruiser.
The West Virginia police officer’s cruiser was struck by the woman in the midst of an overdose at about 3:40 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. When first responders were able to reach her car, the found the woman unconscious.
Naloxone was used to revive the woman after the heroin overdose. Cabell County law enforcement officials stated the Hurricane, West Virginia, woman had injected herself with heroin before getting behind the wheel of her car. The city of Hurricane is located about 30 miles east of Huntington.
After regaining consciousness thanks to the Narcan shot, the woman refused any further medical treatment. She was arrested and had a misdemeanor DUI charge levied against her. The West Virginia woman is currently being held in the Western Region Jail, the Herald-Dispatch reports.
Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli revealed two passengers in the vehicle driven by the woman who overdosed on heroin were also arrested on misdemeanor charges. One of the passengers in the vehicle that crashed into the police cruiser escorting the funeral procession was cited for permitting a DUI.
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A second passenger was charged with possession of an intoxicating substance. The West Virginia police cruiser was damaged during the crash but no injuries resulted from the incident, according to a Daily Mail report.
West Virginia has the highest opioid overdose rate in the United States, Business Insider reports. Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia also reportedly have the highest opioid prescription rates in the country. “Pill mills,” like the Sav-Rite Pharmacy in town of Kermit, West Virginia, reportedly prescribed 3.2 million doses of hydrocodone to people complaining of pain in 2006 alone.
The Mountain State is one of the top 10 states for the prescription of “high-dose” opioids and “extended-release”opioids — the types of pills drug addicts reportedly covet the most. Opioid prescriptions in many states grew substantially between the mid-1990s through 2010.
Dr. Carl “Rolly” Sullivan has overseen the drug addiction program at the West Virginia University Hospital since 1985. He believes there is a significant link between the heroin and opioid abuse and the state economy. Dr. Sullivan said the abundance of blue-collar workers employed in the coal mine, timber, and agriculture industries were staffing economic sectors that were likely to produce injuries and require pain treatment.
Dr. Sullivan and other experts in the field believe the labor-intensive jobs that puts staffers at high risk for work-related injuries, coupled with years of a struggling economy, made West Virginia and similar areas, prime targets for opioid use – and ultimately abuse.
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