LAKE WORTH — Palm Beach County Fire Rescue received 1,000 more calls for service in fiscal year 2016 in Lake Worth, mostly because of the opioid and overdose crisis that’s been sweeping the county, City Commissioners were told Tuesday night.
The number of opioid-related and overdose calls in Lake Worth increased from 442 in fiscal year 2015 to 644 in 2016, Matt Gafney, Fire Rescue’s district chief, said.
“That’s one of the things we’re working on with the Heroin Task Force,” Gafney said, noting how the rescue office is expanding.
A social worker was recently hired to reach out to residents who need it the most.
“We can’t continue to run the same calls on the same people, bring them to the hospital because they just go right back into the system,” Gafney said. “They have other needs and that’s what we’re trying to bridge.”
Although the number of calls increased, Gafney said response times got better in Lake Worth, dropping 13 seconds.
“That’s the best time in the past five years,” Gafney said. “It’s something we’re seeing across the board.”