2017 OD's Surpass 2016 in Cabell County; Kentucky 2016 deaths set new high

Updated 1 year ago Edited by Tony Rutherford from Multiple Reports
 2017 OD's Surpass 2016 in Cabell County; Kentucky 2016 deaths set new high

Cabell County has reported 1,250 overdoses as of Thursday, Aug 24, according to statistics released by Gordon Merry, EMS Director, to the Herald Dispatch. At this time last year there were 1,217 overdoses. According to the HD story,  Cabell County will reach about 1,930 OD's , if the present 5.3 per day rate continues.

However, Kentucky exceeded its 2016 high of deaths ,  according to a report released June 27 from that state's Office of Drug Control Policy. The increases are blamed on rising heroin use and the so-called elephant drug fentanyl.  1,248 died in 2015.

The 2016 total will likely go up. Kentucky's deaths include residents who died in other states and non-residents who perished in Kentucky.  47% of the deaths involved fentanyl (or fentanyl in combination with heroin).

“Nearly every community in Kentucky experienced a fatal drug overdose last year — if that’s not a wake-up call, I don’t know what is,” Gov. Matt Bevin said in a news release with the overdose report. “We don’t have the luxury of pretending there isn’t a massive problem.”

The Kentucky report helps confirm Merry's statement that "We're not the heroin capital of the United States, we're just more aggressive in dealing with it."

Unlike Kentucky, the Cabell County EMS office does not track deaths. In fact, as reported in the H-D, the Cabell numbers could be higher as EMS stats include only paramedic/patient contact. Merry anticipates

Despite a wave of initiatives instituted by multiple agencies "doing everything within their power," Merry concluded "all we're doing (is ) giving Narcan. Thee people are sick . They need rehab and until we end the cycle , we're going to continue to see (overdose totals) going up."

Van Ingram, executive director of the Kentucky  Office of Drug Control Policy, indicated that death totals would be severely higher without use of Narcan, which has been carried by some first responders since 2015. Hundreds of lives have been saved using the drug.

Ingram emphasized in a Lexington Herald Leader article that users have no way of knowing with specificity what drugs they are taking, emphasizing that even the smallest amounts can be lethal.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article158396109.html#storylink=cpy more here: http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article158396109.html#storylink=cpy
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