JOPLIN, Mo. (KSNF) – Kansas has experienced a big recent rise in overdoses.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports a 54% jump in overdose deaths during the first six months of 2021 compared to that same time frame the year before.

“We probably use it just as much for accidental overdoses from people who have prescribed medications as actually we consider illegal drugs,” said Doug Mogle, Cherokee County ambulance service director

Mogle says his ambulances are equipped with medications like Narcan that can save the life of an overdose patient, whether it was an accidental misuse of prescribed medications or someone using drugs to get high from them.

“We carry medications that can reverse certain narcotics and substances, and we do have to give from time to time, but it’s not very often we’re seeing it in the field right now, I know local law enforcement and some fire departments carry these drugs that counteract narcotics,” said Doug.

Doug Mogle said if there is some good news to come out of this huge increase, is that it’s not happening here.

“I assume probably the major cities and like everything else sometimes things happening in the cities do move out to the more rural areas over a year or two,” said Mogle.

If that does happen, he says local first responders in the southeast corner of the state have received the necessary training and tools to intervene.