25 Overdoses in One Weekend in Boynton Beach
Author: Justin Mckibben
The overdose outbreak is a definite issue facing every state in the nation. With the opioid epidemic the risks of overdose have steadily increased as new, more potent drugs have begun to circulate. Boynton Beach is one area in South Florida that has also been hit by the opioid epidemic. In late 2016 there was an estimated 250 overdoses in Boynton for the year, which is the third largest city in Palm Beach County.
Since then there has been a significant effort to combat the growing issue of opioid abuse and overdoses in Palm Beach County. Still, there are tragic reports of upsurges in drug overdoses in the Boynton Beach area. Just this past weekend, there were 25 drug overdose reports.
Overdoses over the Weekend
The initial statements coming from the city police state that the overdose outbreak started Friday afternoon at 12:51 p.m. at Townplace Suites by Marriott on Quantum Boulevard. The incidents went on until Monday afternoon. During that short period, 25 drug users in Boynton Beach overdosed on narcotics.
While local police and paramedics cannot verify at the moment what caused these overdoses, most of the overdoses seen in South Florida, not to mention all over America, are in relation to heroin, or the much more potent drug fentanyl.
The individuals who the officers attended to were found in hotels, houses and shopping centers. Tragically, two of the overdose victims died. According to the police records:
- One was a 38-year-old man at 3638 Southeast First St.
- Another was a 21-year-old man at 710 Northeast Seventh St.
In connection to this story, police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said,
“We had a significantly high number of overdoses in the city,”
A main reason why the survival rate among overdoses is good is because of the heroin overdose antidote.
Overdose Antidote Access
Thankfully, expanded access to the opioid overdose antidote Naloxone has given police departments in Palm Beach County the tools to save lives when someone experiences an opioid overdose. Boynton Beach Fire Rescue workers now carry Naloxone, also known as Narcan, for cases like these.
Boynton’s police officers typically don’t carry Naloxone, but the Fire Rescue workers also have an auto injector form of the opioid overdose antidote called Evzio. The department obtained 100 injectors through a grant program from the manufacturing company, Kaleo Pharma. According to Stephanie Slater, they have run out of the Evizo injectors, and the department is applying for more.
Last year Delray Beach police department became the first police division to train its officers in delivering the overdose antidote, while equipping their officers with the medication. Currently Boynton Beach police officers do not carry Naloxone, but it may be time to change that.
According to a state report that was released on Friday, the drugs killing more Floridians than any other drug are:
- Fentanyl and other drugs related to fentanyl
The damage brought on by opioids and synthetic opioids is pretty obvious. Just two days before this report Florida Governor Rick Scott had declared a public health emergency to fight the opioid epidemic. According to a report from Jupiter, Florida earlier this month, overdoses are up 163% this year compared to the first three months last year.
According to the CDC, with alcohol and drug related deaths in America combined, the total came to 88,574. 2016 saw spikes in some of these record numbers, and sadly it is probably safe to assume that we will see this trend continue in 2017 unless there are some drastic changes across the board with how this nation addressing substance use disorder. Meanwhile, every community must work to make sure weekends like this don’t keep getting worse.
Addiction is stopping so many people from living out their lives, and overdose is one of the most horrific realities in our country right now. But recovery is possible. We have the power to change these statistics.
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