Opiate Deaths Surpass Traffic Deaths in Waukesha County

by EMP Editor on February 25, 2014

The article below is from a recent online news publication and illustrates the growing problem with opiates.  It’s not just local to Waukesha County or the state of Wisconsin.  Emergency Medical Products has seen an increase in inquiries from city and state municipalities regarding naloxone, also called Narcan, which is a drug used to counter the effects of an opiate overdose.  The key is education, and at the moment it appears to be an ongoing, uphill battle, as you’ll read from the article below.

Opiate deaths surpass traffic deaths in Waukesha County

DA: Average age of users 24 or younger

Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel said that in 24 years in law enforcement he never thought he’d see a problem as bad as the heroin and opiate epidemic that is now gripping the county.

The district attorney said the epidemic isn’t one that law enforcement can “incarcerate our way out of.” Instead, he said, the public has to be involved in understanding and helping to eradicate the problem. The problem is misunderstood on the basis of who the majority of users are and how they are becoming so hooked on the drug that they will lie, steal and risk their lives daily to get high.

Schimel shared this message with a group of Rotarians at a recent meeting. He has been traveling to give his presentation in an effort to raise awareness of the problem statewide.

Addicts among us

“What’s a heroin addict look like?” Schimel asked. To the surprise of many, those who become dependent on the drug are typically normal, gainfully employed people. What’s most disturbing, Schimel said, is that the average age of those who come through Waukesha County’s newly created drug court is 24 or younger.

“The average age just keeps going down, and now we’re seeing high school age (abusing opiates),” Schimel said.

He shared a photo of a young girl, just out of high school, who had a promising future, Schimel said. She fatally overdosed.

He shared another story about a young man from Muskego who was found unresponsive by a police officer in his car in a vacant parking lot. The officer was able to break the car window and call emergency medical services (EMS) in time to administer a drug (Narcan, or naloxone) to revive him.

The man was admitted to a mental health facility for observation, but released 24 hours later. Schimel said just hours after his release, the man’s mother called police in a panic because her son was missing, and she was afraid he was using again. “They were able to track his phone and found him in his car, but this time it was too late to save him,” he said.

Law-enforcement agencies constantly receive calls from parents thanking them for incarcerating their children so they know they’ll survive another day.

‘Opiate-seeking missile’

Addicts usually begin by taking prescription pills, Schimel said. He said his department is see cases come through the drug court in which high school students are grabbing handsful of pills at party — many times not even knowing what they are ingesting.

“They tell us at the drug court they don’t think what they are taking can be dangerous. Doctors prescribe it … “he shared.

From those encounters, the partygoers develop a dependence on drugs.

Schimel said law enforcement and former addicts describe an addict like this: “Your brain becomes an opiate-seeking missile. It’s all you can think about, and the fear of death is not there.”

The problem goes beyond teenage parties, though. The problem is widespread and undiscriminating as to age or social standing. Schimel said, for example, that he is reviewing two cases of law-enforcement officers suspected of stealing pills while they were on duty.

He said people think of any means they can to get the pills, including stealing from a medicine cabinet during a real-estate open house. “People won’t notice how many pills are missing until they may go to their doctor for a refill and find out they’re not due for a refill,” he said. “People need to understand they need to lock this stuff up.”

As an opiate addict’s dependence grows, finding prescription pills, which are hard to come by and expensive, leads him or her to consider trying heroin. It’s much cheaper and rapidly becoming much easier to get.

County leads state

Schimel said Waukesha County is the second leading source of heroin submissions to the state Crime Lab. In 2012, Waukesha County submitted 85 heroin cases to the Crime Lab, just behind the 91 submitted by Milwaukee County.

The problem has become so bad that a needle-exchange group recently notified Schimel’s department that it would be frequenting the area. The organization parks a van in the community when a user solicits its service. It provides a kit with 10 unused syringes, cotton balls, clean water, a tourniquet, cooker tin and alcohol wipes.

Schimel’s initial reaction was to threaten to arrest every person who came up to the van. But after visiting with the group, he understood that the group performs a valuable service by helping to protect the health of citizens.

The group explained to Schimel what reused needles do to spread disease and tear up veins. They described the desperation of an addict who uses water from a mud puddle to shoot up because they can’t find a clean water source fast enough. And they showed a list of local ZIP codes related to where they have been asked to go. Just in Southeastern Wisconsin, more than 700,000 needles were distributed through the exchange in 2012.

“We saw the numbers, and our stomachs fell out to the floor,” Schimel said.

Schimel said Waukesha County is an “end user” county, meaning this is where the drug is consumed, and this is where people are dying. In the last four years, 40 people have died from an overdose. He said the average traffic deaths per year in the county is 23.

“What would we do if traffic deaths doubled? We have spent millions on roundabouts. What are we going to spend to prevent young peoples’ deaths?” he asked.

Gaining support

It actually costs less to put someone through the county’s drug court than it does to deal with a fatal overdose, Schimel said.

Participants go through the drug court program for a minimum of 12 months. The program includes four intense phases requiring frequent random drug and alcohol testing, substance abuse treatment, regular status hearings in front of the drug court judge, attendance at self-help meetings, frequent case-management meetings and other requirements. This costs about $2,700 per person, Schimel said.

By comparison, it costs about $8,000 to deal with an overdose death, he said, once you figure in the costs of emergency medical services, the medical examiner, toxicology tests and more.

The program recently received $150,000, a piece of the $2 million Gov. Scott Walker designated from state funds for similar programs designed to help in the fight against drugs in about 15 counties around the state, Schimel said.

He said the funding will allow the county to have up to 50 participants at any given time in the program, instead of only being able to take the most serious cases. “We have a waiting list,” he said.

“We’ve had to fight to get where we are. The county executive and governor have added money to the current budget,” he said.

They’re also working with state legislators to create new laws. One is to allow places such as police stations to have heavily armed drop boxes where people can safely dispose of drugs.

Another law would allow people other than EMS personnel, such as a police officer, to administer Narcan when responding to an overdose — a time when an overdose victim might not have time to wait for EMS to respond and minutes are critical.

Between 2010-12, more than 3,700 prehospital Narcan deployments by Wisconsin EMS were administered.

Schimel said both laws have passed the Senate and he expects they will also pass the Assembly.

State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen recently released an opinion that the statewide campaign against drugs is helping. He said people are reaching out to law enforcement to see what they can do. Van Hollen said the community approach is necessary to combat the drug, which is seeping into every corner of society. “Take a look at the numbers. By mid-November of this year, our DCI (Division of Criminal Investigation) field office in Milwaukee saw a 109-percent increase in the volume of heroin seized by special agents,” he said.

Average number of traffic deaths per year in Waukesha County: 23

Number of opiate-related deaths in Waukesha County in 2012: 40

Source: waukeshanow.com



EMP Going from UPS to FedEx

by EMP Editor on January 22, 2014

EMP To Move Small Parcel Carrier from UPS to FedEx!

EMP cares about their customers and strives to provide them with the best service possible.  In an effort to improve our shipping process we will be transitioning our primary small parcel carrier from UPS to FedEx over the next several weeks.

What does this mean to you?  Better service.  This change will not only provide you with timely deliveries of your medical products and supplies, but you should also see a decrease in damaged shipments.  Even better, depending on your location, you may receive your shipments even faster.

FedEx is a trusted carrier that handles over 10 million shipments each day.  We are confident that they will handle your shipments with respect, accuracy, and timely delivery.

Please know there is nothing you need to do.  This transition will be seamless.  However, if you do have any questions about this change, or need additional information please, please call our knowledgeable Customer Service Team at 800.558.6270.


Did you know EMP pays all regular ground shipping charges?  Exceptions would include orders with special shipping requests, orders for resale, and all orders outside of the contiguous United States.  Please note that all orders under $175.00 are subject to a $10.50 handling fee.


Cold & Flu Remedies: Q & A

by EMP Editor on November 21, 2013

Did you know the best way to blow your nose is one nostril at a time?  Yes, according to WebMD you’re encouraged to cover one nostril, blow gently and repeat as necessary.  The pressure from using all of your force could not only cause an earache, but it could potentially force the mucus back into your sinuses.  Also, using a decongestant can help clear a stuffy nose, so you won’t have to blow as much.

How do you deal with a dry, hacking cough?  Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, such as cough suppressants, will help suppress a cough.  Using a humidifier and gargling with warm salt water – which can help reduce throat inflammation – gives much needed moisture.

What can relieve the pain of an achy ear due to congestion?  An over-the-counter decongestant can ease the day by relieving the pressure and pain.

How many days in a row can you use a nasal decongestant?  To avoid symptom rebound (worse nasal swelling when the medication wears off) do not use a decongestant spray for more than three days in a row.

Take the Cold and Flu Remedies: What Works? Quiz on WebMD and see how you score.

Source: webmd.com

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American Diabetes Month®

by EMP Editor on November 13, 2013

Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.  Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has estimated the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.

If those numbers weren’t staggering enough think about this: every 17 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes, that’s 5000 new cases every day.  In the next 24 hours over 130 people will develop kidney failure because of diabetes.  In the next 24 hours diabetes will claim the lives of 200 people.

It’s November, it’s American Diabetes Month® (ADM), and it’s time to come together and Stop Diabetes®!  The vision of the ADA is a life free of diabetes and all of the burdens that go with it.  Raising awareness of this continually growing disease is one of the main efforts behind the mission of the ADA.

How can you help the fight to Stop Diabetes®?  You can advocate, get walking, get riding, volunteer, and/or donate.

How do you know if you’re at risk?  Take the diabetes risk test and see how you score.

Source: diabetes.org, stopdiabetes.com


Medstorm by Curaplex Continues to Grow

by EMP Editor on October 31, 2013

Have you had a chance to check out our Medstorm by Curaplex line?  If not, you’re missing out.  Every day the line continues to grow with everyday products and solutions across multiple clinical categories.  As soon as new stock hits our warehouse, we’re adding the product to our website.

Some of our latest additions include nasopharyngeal airways, instant hot packs, and the super popular Halo chest seal.  We’re now even carrying multi-function defibrillator electrodes.

The Medstorm by Curaplex brand is only going to grow, but if there’s something you’d like to see offered don’t be shy, please let us know.


Recertified AEDs and Defibs Are a Hit

by EMP Editor on October 29, 2013

It was only nine months ago we started offering recertified AEDs and recertified defibrillators and well, it’s a hit!

Recertified equipment is the choice for EMS, hospital, and physician offices that are looking to stretch their budget. All recertified AEDs and recertified defibrillators are comprehensively tested and certified to meet the same performance standards as new devices.  Not only does all recertified equipment come with a one year warranty, but Basic and Premium Service Plans are available, including free loaner programs.

If that wasn’t enough, we now offer a program where you can trade in and trade up to a “new” recertified AED or recertified defibrillator.  It’s simple, just give us a call and let us know what model AED and/or defibrillator you’d like to trade in. We’ll do some homework and get back to you ASAP with the trade in value of your unit(s). If you accept our offer you’re then able to apply the trade in credit towards a “new” recertified AED or recertified defibrillator.

Take a moment and check out what we have to offer.

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Trade In and Trade Up

by EMP Editor on October 18, 2013

Did you know that you can trade in your AED and/or defibrillator and trade up to a “new” recertified AED or recertified defibrillator?

It’s a new program to EMP and we’re really excited to be able to share it with you. It’s simple, just give us a call and let us know what model AED and/or defibrillator you’d like to trade in. We’ll do some homework and get back to you ASAP with the trade in value of your unit(s). If you accept our offer you’re then able to apply the trade in credit towards a “new” recertified AED or recertified defibrillator.

We also wanted to let you know that we offer Basic and Premium Service Plans at excellent rates to protect your investment on not only recertified, but new defibrillation equipment too.

Out with the old, in with the new, and you save some money too – how can you go wrong?


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

by EMP Editor on October 11, 2013

Did you realize that except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women?  Breast cancer does not only affect women, but men too.  In 2009 (the most recent year with available statistics) 211,731 women and 2001 men in the United Sates were diagnosed with breast cancer.  That same year 40,676 women and 400 men in the United States died from breast cancer.

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month we’d like to remind you of the importance of breast cancer screening.  Most health insurance companies pay for the cost of breast cancer screening tests, but if you are worried about the cost here’s a resource that offers free or low-cost mammograms and education about breast cancer:

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) / Do you qualify?

Lots of things (risk factors) can increase the chance that you’ll get breast cancer, however some of these things you can control.


Source: cdc.gov


MedStorm by Curaplex

October 7, 2013

Have you heard about MedStorm by Curaplex?  Our MedStorm brand enables responders to deliver quality treatment and improve patient outcomes.  With a portfolio of everyday products and solutions across multiple clinical categories, we continue to anticipate the need of tomorrow’s healthcare while responding to the needs of today.  Right now we have assorted nitrile exam […]

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EMP is the Exclusive Distributor of L.A. Rescue

October 1, 2013

Did you know EMP is the exclusive distributor of L.A. Rescue brand products? For over 15 years EMP and L.A. Rescue have partnered to bring you the best in high quality gear bags and equipment. Designed and field tested by professionals just like you, the L.A. Rescue brand has proven to be the finest, most […]

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