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Many overdose victims administer lifesaving treatments on themselves instead of calling police

FARGO—Fargo police are trying to determine if a death in North Fargo is the sixth in the city this year due to an opioid overdose.

Although dispatch calls for opioid overdoses have dropped since last year, it's not all good news.

Police and first responders have seen almost the same number of overdose deaths this year compared with last year, and they say it's because more people are administering Narcan on their own instead of calling 911.

Since the end of April, there have been four suspected deaths due to drug overdoses in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The latest suspected overdose death came Tuesday, in North Fargo.

In Fargo, there were 26 calls for overdoses and six deaths through May of 2016.

In 2017, there have been 12 calls and five deaths. Fifteen people died in Fargo in 2016 due to drug overdoses, Police say they'll likely see a similar number this year, or more if something doesn't change.

"Their families are just beside themselves with grief. We walk away knowing there was nothing else we could have done," said Kathy Lonski of FM Ambulance.

These deaths most likely will continue until people start calling 911 rather than relying on the drug Naloxone for a potential cure. Police blame what's been dubbed the miracle drug for the deaths.

"Narcan is reducing the calls, they are self-administering, and they're not calling us. And that's a concern because Narcan isn't a cure," said Lt. Shannon Ruziska of the Fargo Police Department.

Police say waiting to call 911 wastes precious minutes that could save a life.

"It's a horrible scene to go to. It's the worst thing (police) have to do in their career and see someone who should not be dead," said Ruziska.

For now, authorities and paramedics will continue the fight.

"If everybody could just go home safe and sound, that would be the big win for us," said Lonski.

"As long as there is tomorrow, there is hope."

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