A paramedic's job just got tougher.
"We've noticed a shortage in some of the drugs that we are provided by the hospitals," says Sarah Walker with the Blacksburg Rescue Squad, "It's kind of become a routine in the last year."
There's a drug shortage nationwide and that means drugs commonly used in emergencies aren't available.
"It's very frustrating because we find that shortages are impacting not only the providers but the patients in the long run," says Rob Logan with the Western Virginia EMS.
The Western Virginia EMS says this area is affected by the drug shortage. That means hospital pharmacies are putting substitute drugs inside ambulance kits.
"We usually have Valium in our drug boxes which usually makes patients calm and happy and the drug that we now have to replace that is a more potent drug that can actually cause a patient to stop breathing if we're not very careful with it," says Walker.
That's why the Blacksburg Rescue Squd has posted signs throughout the building including the bathroom. It details the substitute drug, dosage, and side effects.
"At the moment we're making do," says Walker, "I think the consensus is we'd like to see the shortages go away."
The Western Virginia EMS says they haven't found a concrete reason why there's a shortage. They just hope supplies improve quick.