CHICAGO (CBS) — As Chicago’s death toll from violence keeps climbing, one of those on the front lines thinks he knows why.
“If you get to be 18, you’re doing pretty good,” Pat Fitzmaurice, paramedic chief for Chicago’s West Side, told WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger.
He says drug dealers are destroying families and communities.
His men and women constantly are called out to save the lives of those who have overdosed on heroin.
“They’re literally at death’s doorstep, and the paramedics get to the scene,” he said. “We have a drug called Narcan (naloxone) that we give them, and it completely reverses the overdose.
“Then, they’re awake and good to go. We bring them to the hospital, and they’re back on the street.”
Often, he said, to be rescued again the next time.
With dealers on every corner, Fizmaurice says drugs are unraveling the fabric of the community he serves.
“The violence is just out-of-control,” he said. “I’ve been a paramedic since 1975. I’m wearing a bullet-proof vest.”
Fitzmaurice is the subject of TV episode called “Windy City High” that will air as part of the series, Drugs Inc., at 8 p.m. Sunday on the National Geographic Channel.