Scioto County is once again on a lethal narcotic alert, with record numbers of overdoses hitting the area.
Lisa Roberts with the Portsmouth City Health Department explained the Scioto County has seen a drastic increase in both lethal and non-lethal overdoses, a phenomenon being experienced across the state. These overdoses are a result of the influx of stronger opiates into the area. However, a spike in deaths over the last week is further raising concern.
“Since January 2017, Scioto County, like most other Ohio counties, has seen an overall dramatic increase and sustained spike in overdoses — both fatal and non-fatal,” Roberts stated. “Practically a doubling of these incidences over just last year. Fentanyl and carfentanil have been positively confirmed in overdose victim’s toxicologies locally and all over the state. These drugs are 50 -1,000 times more potent than other opioids and are most likely responsible for the recent spike.”
Though Roberts explained that deaths over recent weeks have not been confirmed as overdoses, there are reasons to believe that confirmation will come following autopsies.
“You cannot say for sure a cause of death until an autopsy is complete and this can take there to four months,” Roberts explained. “But, there have been several suspicious reported deaths in Scioto County since late last week, more than usual in that short period. And combined with reports from first responders it does look like these drugs are likely responsible.”
Roberts further explained that there are likely even more overdoses occurring than being reported because of access to overdose drug Narcan/Naloxone.
“Many overdoses go unreported since many people are taking advantage of the ability to access and use naloxone as community lay savers,” commented Roberts. “I want to stress that anyone can get it and use it safely under Ohio’s Good Samaritan Law, and it’s available at Kroger, CVS, and SOMC pharmacies now without a prescription and covered by most insurances.”
With the death toll soaring, she urged those battling addiction to seek treatment.
To find treatment information, contact the local Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board at (740) 354-5648.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.