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Mason City paramedics at the fire department know the opioid epidemic is an issue.
They responded to four opioid overdoses last year and thankfully they say they're not always kids.
Peter Bieber is a paramedic and firefighter with the Mason City Fire Department. He's someone who's responded to plenty of opioid overdose calls.
“This country needs to have a conversation on prescription on opioid pain medications and how we're prescribing them,” Bieber said.
Bieber says at this time they fortunately rarely see kids overdosing on opioids but knows it can easily happen.
“They're being prescribed so heavily they're in a lot of homes out there and not always secure in those houses,” Bieber said.
From 2004 to 2015 the number of children and teens admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit for an opioid overdose nearly doubled according to University of Chicago. That includes teens abusing them and kids accidentally taking them, Bieber's concerned to hear that.
“It does because there is a lot of people who don't take their medication regularly as they should so they have pills leftover,” Bieber said.
Not hanging on to extra painkillers and possibly locking them up are ways to save these kids’ lives.
Starting to talk to your kids at the age of 8 or 10 about substance abuse is another way to prevent an opioid overdose.