Experts warn of increase in drug overdoses, concerns of drug potency: What you need to know

Miami Valley News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Community Overdose Action Team (COAT) Thursday said it is warning the public there has been an increase in drug overdose cases in the Dayton region in the past week. Preliminary data, COAT said, shows four fatal overdoses in the last five days.

The team warned anyone who buys drugs on the street that there is a high likelihood the drugs purchased may be laced with fentanyl or other potentially fatal chemicals.

“Certainly anytime someone uses drugs they’re at risk of death, when fentanyl is laced with drugs, that’s a powerful combination and is deadly in many situations, that’s why we’re trying to warn people to avoid that at all costs,” Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County Public Information Supervisor Dan Suffoletto said.

According to COAT, fentanyl is added to other drugs of abuse to increase their potency or is disguised as highly potent heroin. Many users believe that they are purchasing other drugs and don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl which could result in overdose deaths.

The team also pointed out that due to the high levels of fentanyl being mixed with other drugs, it is possible that more than one dose of Narcan may be needed to reverse the effects of fentanyl and save those who overdose.

“The Dayton Police Department is continuing to respond to both fatal and non-fatal overdoses, with an alarming increase occurring in the area of West Dayton, where various drugs such as cocaine, heroin and pressed pills are being spiked with fentanyl to increase their potency.  A person may believe they are purchasing cocaine or a pill, but in all actuality are receiving a lethal dose of fentanyl.

We urge/beg everyone struggling with addiction to first and foremost seek treatment and recovery services.  Additionally, if you or someone you care about uses these drugs we ask that you take advantage of such life-saving programs as naloxone kits and fentanyl test strips that are available, free of charge” said Major Brian Johns, Dayton Police Department.

Preliminary data from Montgomery County Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) reports from January to April there 103 overdose deaths in Montgomgery County, with 51 of those in Dayton.

That compares to 323 total deaths last year.

COAT said while there is no safe way to use illegal drugs, it is important that those using drugs, their friends and family, and the public are aware of steps they can take to help reduce the risk of death.

“We are definitely encouraging people to use things like narcan and to have those items accessible and ready to go when needed,” ADAMHS Director of Strategic Initiatives Samantha Elder said. “So if the community is able to come together and really do this as a community effort, thean we will be able to overcome this.”

For those in need of help for their addiction, there are many reources in the miami valley.

Families of Addicts (FOA) created the “Navigator Network” warm line during the pandemic to connect people with the drug addiction treatment or services they need for themselves or their family and friends.

“We have a wide variety of resources, it can be anything from that your individual’s been arrested and you need a good attorney to represent them, it could be I need in-patient treatment, I need out-patient treatment,” FOA Executive Director Anita Kitchen said.

The Navigator Network can be reached by text at 844-844-2362.

Safety recommendations from COAT for people who use drugs:

  1. Have Narcan available, and someone who can administer it, in case of an overdose. Call 937-734-9468 to get a kit today
  2. Do not use drugs that contain or may contain fentanyl
  3. Do not use drugs alone
  4. Do not share needles
  5. In the event of an overdose, call 911 immediately
  6. For individuals experiencing addiction and in need of immediate care, contact OneFifteen’s
    Crisis Stabilization Unit at 937-535-5115
  7. Call Samaritan Crisis Care 24/7 at 224-4646 for crisis intervention services

ADAMHS also has the GetHelpNow app available for download on mobile devices or it can be accessed from a computer.

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