DRMC has experienced a notable spike in the number of patients treated for heroin overdoses with 57 reported from 2005 to October of 2010. In contrast the hospital treated only three patients for overdoses from 2000 to 2004.
Christiansen said overdose patients typically experience respiratory depression.
“It just makes them so sedated that their body forgets to breathe,” he said. “If it has been too long they eventually end up dead or brain-dead.”