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Epidemic Hits 8 Overdoses in One Hour

Epidemic Hits 8 Overdoses in One Hour

Author: Justin Mckibben

In case you were starting to wonder how bad the heroin problem really is right now, let us make it abundantly clear that the opiate epidemic and the overdose outbreak is still a thing, and it is still costing lives all over America.

True, we are lucky to be in a time where there is more efforts being put forth to leave behind the old ways of addressing drug abuse that didn’t work, but we are not out of the woods yet. Currently there are initiatives being put in place to provide greater access to opiate overdose antidote medications, and now more than ever law enforcement and state officials are encouraging addicts to seek help without fear of harsh persecution.

That being said, some states are still getting hit pretty hard, and plenty of people are still dying.

Pennsylvania in Peril

Last week a small Pennsylvania county with a population of about 200,000 people was shook with the unsettling reality of the overdose outbreak, with a shocking 8 heroin overdoses in only 70 minutes time.

That’s right; 8 overdoses in 1 hour and 10 minutes.

The county has been struck relentlessly with episode after episode of devastation from drugs, also tallying up:

  • 16 overdoses in 24 hours
  • 25 over a period of only 2 days
  • 3 deaths

Luckily there were programs in place that allowed first responders to be required to carry naloxone, a drug that reverses the symptoms of opioid overdose, which saved the lives of the other individuals, but 3 dead is still a tragedy no matter how you count it up.

Some suspect there is a tainted batch responsible for the spike in overdoses for this area, with speculations the heroin could actually be laced with fentanyl, another extremely powerful opioid. Though it is very much a possibility that fentanyl was a involved in any number of these deaths, it has yet to be confirmed by testing the drugs to find out.

Still, this last week in Washington County, Pennsylvania was simply an extreme example set forth with an intensity and frequency worth recognizing of what many communities all across the United States are experiencing at this point in time.

Death by heroin, or at least overdose and illness, are knocking down our doors.

Tracing Fentanyl

While it may not yet be proven, many believe that the greater majority of the heroin in Pennsylvania is coming from New Jersey, which would support the theory of fentanyl laced heroin seeing as how last year fentanyl was found to be liable for 143 overdose deaths in the state of New Jersey.

More and more cases are showing up where there may be a dash of fentanyl in some heroin. In the more extreme cases, it might only be a pinch of heroin in your fentanyl. Depends on who’s cutting it.

Overdoses Still Climbing

To put this into perspective, Washington County averages between 5 and 8 heroin overdoses a day! So far in 2015 there have already been more than 50 fatal overdoses in Washington County, and with numbers like these it doesn’t seem to show signs of stopping.

The United States sees close to 110 overdose deaths from drugs every day, both legal and illegal. Nationwide the toll of heroin deaths has been noted to have quadrupled from the year 2003 to 2013. It is scary to think how much the last year plus has added, and it is expected to continue to skyrocket for a few more years unless something drastic is done.

Washington County District Attorney Eugene A. Vittone commented on the progression of the overdose issue in his county, saying,

“It’s absolutely insane. This is nuts.”

Neil Capretto, an addiction psychiatrist in the Pittsburgh area made a chilling comparison to emphasis the need for more active intervention in the problem.

“If we had a serial killer killing one-tenth as many [people], we’d have the National Guard here—we’d have CNN here every night,”

Think about that. Imagine a serial killer you could carry around in your pocket without even knowing, who could be all over the place all at once, and who killed at random without discrimination or motive, using poison as its method.

That is exactly what heroin is. So how do we stop it?

Overcoming addiction isn’t an easy task to do, especially for those who go it alone. But you never have to, there is help out there.  

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