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MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. -- The Federal Food and Drug Administration recently announced that accidental drug poisonings have passed automobile crashes as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. Mecklenburg County Medic calls painkillers, and heroin abuse an epidemic.

The FDA has now approved a new drug called Evzio. It is administered like a shot. It works by blocking the effects of the opioid on the brain of the overdose victim. It gets the brain to tell the heart and lungs to start working again for a short time.

Eric Morrison has been on the front lines as an EMT for nearly 20 years. He has a good idea where attics live.

You know I think people in their mind think that overdoses are in a certain portion of the city, certain zip codes, and the fact is they're everywhere. I've run it from the richest neighborhood to the poorest neighborhood and on any given day we'll see a complete variety of patients.

When asked about the idea of parents, or anyone having an overdose antidote in the home Eric is supportive.

Honestly, I'm all for the idea that we equip people who could potentially find themselves in this dangerous situation. The ideal would be that we don't have people intentionally, or unintentionally overdosing on narcotics. That would be the ideal situation, the reality is, it's going to happen. What this new medication, I believe will be able to do is let family members make that first step to provide treatment.

Critics have claimed Evzio will allow attics to keep using. But Robert Martin, director of Carolinas' Health Systems Substance Abuse recovery program doesn't see it that way. For him, every person hooked on pain meds, or heroin is headed for an overdose.

They don't promote drug abuse. No, it keeps people from dying.

Evzio won't be available until summer and will need a prescription from a doctor to receive it. If you or a love one needs help, Director Martin urges people to call 704 304 5248 to speak with a trained counselor to see if an intervention is needed.

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