Cincinnati Opioid Overdoses No Longer On The Rise
After a wave of drug overdose deaths last week, the trend in Cincinnati seems to be on the down slide. However, the number of opioid overdoses are still at a level above normal.
According to Thomas Synan, Police Chief and head of the Hamilton County Drug Coalition Task Force, opioid overdoses decreased to 10-15 per day over the past weekend. As late as Friday, 174 overdoses were reported in emergency rooms over a six-day period, averaging 29 per day. Still, just 20-25 overdoses are typical for a week.
He also noted that law enforcement has taken samples of the heroin and will test it to determine the origin. Many of the samples are believed to be laced with heroin’s much more powerful cousins, fentanyl or carfentanil.
“I think it shows the callousness of those who are dealing this drug. They do not care about the person they are selling to, they do not care about the communities they affect.”
Moreover, fentanyl is believed responsible for a record number of opioid overdoses (3,050) in the state of Ohio in 2015. Also, the anti-overdose drug naloxone (Narcan) is attributed to saving a large number of lives, many of which would also become statistics if it weren’t for the overdose reversal treatment. EMTs in Ohio reported administering nearly 20,000 doses of the drug in 2015.
The state pharmacy board announced yesterday that 1,000 pharmacies (about 47% total) will now provide the overdose treatment to customers without a prescription. However, the presence of either fentanyl or carfentanil can make it difficult to save the life of an overdose victim.
Areas in Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia also incurred spikes in overdoses this past week. In Indiana, Jennings County Sheriff Gary Driver reported that many of those who overdosed last week needed 3-4 treatments of Narcan in order to be revived. Heroin recovered from the homes of overdose victims has been shipped to an Indiana State Police lab to determine if it was combined with fentanyl or some other drug.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, an astonishing 47,000 Americans died from an overdose.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology