2015 heroin overdoses, arrests more than double 2014 totals

The number of heroin overdoses in just the first seven months of 2015 has more than doubled the total number from last year.

As of Wednesday, Manatee County Emergency Medical Services has responded to 918 overdoses. That's up from 435 total last year, and 227 total in 2013.

"We're not even done with the year yet," Manatee EMS Chief Steve Krivjanik said. "We're seeing ten to twelve a day. We have 21 [dead on arrival patients] so far this year, and I always like to bring up Fourth of July."

Over that three-day weekend, EMS responded to 57 heroin overdoses and spent $68,000 on the revival drug, Narcan.

"That's given by us in the field in an emergency situation when a patient has presented symptoms of overdose," Krivjanik said. "They can rapidly come back or out of their situation. Sometimes they're not real happy, but it's a life-saving medication."

Just like the staggering increase in overdose cases, the number of arrests for sale and possession of heroin have also gone up.

Bradenton Police are focusing more time and attention on the drug since users have no idea what they're injecting or snorting.

"With the heroin that they're buying on the streets, these guys will cut it, and they can cut it with poison, rat poison, Fentanyl," Lieutenant James Racky said. "When they cut it, they don't know what they're injecting into their body, so they're taking their life into their hands when one shot can kill you."