Gas stations: a hotbed of opioid overdoses



Trips to gas stations constitute a large portion of an average week. They tend to be quite ubiquitous: You get out of the car, choose your fuel type, I typically go for 93, release the nozzle, and inject the car with the energy it requires for the weekly trips. I followed that same process today, as I waited for my tank to be filled to the brim; I tend to commute a lot. However, what came next was far from a typical trip to a gas station.

I heard the deafening sirens of a fire truck echo through the streets of downtown Winston Salem, just across the local library. Nothing was out of the ordinary, just yet, as fire trucks in Winston Salem tend to be quite prevalent. Seconds later, a cop car pulls up. Then a second one, and a third. Minutes later two EMS trucks interject what was then a quiet afternoon at a local BP station. At that point I knew that something was wrong.

I immediately pulled out of the car just as the EMS personnel rushed towards the backside of the gas station with a stretcher, right behind a large dumpster. As I got closer, I could vaguely see a body laying facedown with a group of police officers and eye witnesses surrounding the scene. I tried getting closer but was stopped by a medic who advised me to stay at a distance. At that point, I had a gut feeling that this wasn't a crime scene, but rather an overdose.

I grabbed the first person that didn't seem to be heavily invested in the scene, which to my luck, was the gas station clerk. For the sake of maintaining anonymity, lets assume his name was Justin. I asked Justin what had happened and his answer validated my intuition: an opioid overdose. The victim was a middle aged man, who according to what the officer had told him, was given methadone by his girlfriend and consumed a fatal dose that resulted in an overdose. "His face was blue, he was clearly dead". Justin described the man who laid unconscious behind a gas station dumpster. According to several other eye witnesses, the victim was "resurrected" by a narcane spray that was administered by his girlfriend, the same person who apparently peddled the methadone.


Justin doubts that the victim received these opioid from a clinic. He believes that the cause was heroine and not prescribed methadone. "He was completely fine 20 minutes prior to the accident", he stated. His girlfriend had apparently asked for hot water multiple times before chaos arrived at the scene. He further added that hot water could've been used to sterilize the needle before being injected. "It all adds up".

This wasn't Justin's first time dealing with such an incident. Some of the most evident effects of the opiod epidemic can be witnessed inside the bathrooms of gas stations, like the one Justin runs. "In these last few years, I've seen people consume fatal amounts of prescription pills, right in front of my gas station". He regularly has to dump bags of used needles found in bathroom stalls. Justin has had enough of the opioid epidemic. We all have.

Today's experience validated my dedication towards pilleve. It fortified my willingness and desire to commercialize a necessity. Pilleve isn't a luxury good nor is it a 'cool' tech gadget. It's a socially driven solution to a complex humanitarian problem.


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