ST. LOUIS, Mo. – St. Louis city leaders are trying to make a change after they say they are receiving an increasing number in opioid overdose cases daily.

Just Wednesday morning, St. Louis firefighters responded to two separate overdose calls in south city. The reports came in around 4:30 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Crews used Narcan to bring the patients back. Three were transported to an area hospital, and two others denied medical treatment.

“Multiple overdoses are not that uncommon. Five is a little bit on the extreme side, but fortunately, we train all of our people on how to deal with these situations,” James Thomas, paramedic, said. “It is a growing problem; we’re starting to see more and more synthetics come out… there’s several other things that are hitting the streets that just make it more complicated for us, that even Narcan doesn’t affect.”

Officials are providing education and outreach to the public surrounding opioid use. Last week, leaders introduced two Narcan distribution boxes around the city. One is located in front of the city health department, and the other is near the entrance of the Soulard Market.

This effort is just the start to widening the availability of Narcan to St. Louisans, according to officials.

“It’s about linking people to services. It’s about proactively being in the community…but in the event of an overdose, it’s about making sure they can get into that box, get a kit, and save somebody’s life,” Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, City of St. Louis director of health, said.

Overdose fatalities have been on the rise since 2017, with a peak in 2020 with 490 cases. 2023 ended with only one less overdose death, as the number sat at 489.