I didn't know where else to put this, so I thought this forum was acceptable.

Tonight I lost my friend to a heroin overdose.

My pager went off for a 23-year-old male in Cardiac Arrest at so and so location - Echo response. I didn't notice the address at first, but I called in to dispatch stating that they had a driver available. The dispatch notified me that the ambulance had already left and that I should head to one of the substations just in case they needed back up. As I left my house I saw the ambulance cross my path on a road that runs perpendicular with my road. The ambulance, and a police officer, both got ahead of me as I ran to the substation. I saw the ambulance turn down a block, and I proceeded down towards the station still.

Of course when I got to the station they released us saying we were not needed. I started to head back to my house. Once I got to the street where the ambulance turned on I could see the lights down the road. I decided to pass by in my car, since it looked like it was coming from my friends house - I was right. I didn't stop, I just went home and though to myself that I hoped everything was ok. It was my friends house, the page came out to his description, and for an cardiac arrest echo response nonetheless.

I decided to drive by again to make sure everything was ok. I know that I am personally not allowed to drive my pov to a scene, but the ambulance was gone by now, but police were still plentiful. I walked up to the door and knocked and his uncle came downstairs. I never really talked to his Uncle, and he was kind of upset at first when he saw me. I guess he thought I contributed to his death, but I informed him that I was in the department, that we got a call, and that I wanted to make sure everything was ok since I didn't make the ambulance. He informed me, teary-eyed, that my friend had passed away due to a heroin overdose.

This literally happened within the past hour, and I am still trying to cope with it. When joining the department I always knew there was a chance of me answering a call in which someone I knew was hurt. I think fate didn't want me to know this early since I missed the ambulance... but I found out either way. He was only 23. The last time that I saw him was a week and a half ago or so when it attended my daughter's Christening.

This is the first time in my life that I've lost a friend this close to me... and I feel even worse that it was over something so stupid such as heroin. He had just gotten back from rehab about 8-9 months prior. I wish I had known about his use again so I could have done something to intervene.

Thanks for reading.

And if anyone else has had any experiences like this and would like to share, I am all ears.

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I'm sorry to hear this, Andrew. I can't truthfully say that I understand what you're going through, because it has never happened to me, but I care. Prayers are with you.

Russell Yount
West Bertram Fire Dept.
Linn County, Iowa
Very similar situation for me.

I was working EMS and heard a call go out, also for a 23 y/o male, cardiac arrest. It wasn't my call, and the address actually didn't ring a bell. A few hours later, still on my shift, a friend of mine called and told me who it was. It is a huge shock, escpecially so young, with no warning.

I'm assuming you're around the same age. Unfortunately, experiences like these continue, and become less and less uncommon. If anything, it can help keep life in perspective, it is so unpredictable and fragile. Sorry for your loss. Enjoy your daughter every moment, any one of us could punch our ticket tommorow.
Andrew-I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. Such a young man. As a Chaplain I would hope that your friend knew the Lord and that he was saved and I hope the same for you. In times like these we tend to question ourselves and think that it may have been something we did or could have done differently to help but you have to trust and know that you have done all that could be done. Trust in God to get you through the tough days ahead. If you need, contact your local CISM team, Critical Incident Stress Management, and they will gladly debrief and talk with you. If you want to talk please feel free to contact me by e-mail. petrosky@umich.edu May you be comforted by God grace.
I am truly sorry for your loss mate. I know your pain as I too lost 2 mates to a stupid accident. Don't bottle it up, find someone to talk it out with and always remember what the other boys have said, It was not your fault and making the bus would not have helped, you or him. My prayers for you both....
Right now I am still in shock. But I know even if I made the ambulance that he wouldn't have made it. The ambulance didn't even transport him to the hospital, so I assume that it was too late before he even got to the hospital.

Thank you for your consolation though, everyone, I truly appreciate it. This is just the beginning of the journey. We still have the wake(s) and funeral. However, I keep hoping that this is just an elongated nightmare.

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