Drug overdose is no longer a problem in the area, it's taking the form of an epidemic. There's a high fatal drug doing rounds in the market these days that is claiming more lives than heroin. The local government is taxing the public safety systems and also ordering for more of the drug's antidote to ensure the safety of the users living in the town.
July can be called a tragic month for the residents here, with a record number of deaths due to overdoses. More alarming than that, many deaths are now being linked to a variety of animal tranquilizer which is being laced with potent heroin. This combination results in a dose that is about 10,000 times stronger than the average dose of morphine.
Disturbing State Of The Opiate Epidemic
Akron police have reported 247 cases of overdoses, and 21+ deaths due to them in less than a span of 3 weeks. The EMS and Barberton Fire Department say half of their calls in the past month were because of an overdose. "It's really disturbing," said Donna Skoda, Summit County Health Commissioner. "It's concerning, more so because it's developing as a new type of recreational hobby."
Cases of overdoses are up by 15 percent compared to the last year in Akron, as per the police records. Authorities confirmed they have now identified individuals who are possibly involved in dispensing this kind of drugs. It possible that the recorded overdoses resulted from a "bad batch" of drugs which were probably laced with another synthetic opiate, fentanyl, according to the police.
Ensuring Public Safety Using The Antidote
The department has been requiring an increased supply of the antidote, Narcan, much more than it ever needed. This is because it takes as many as seven doses these days to try and revive an individual who has overdosed on laced heroin which has a very powerful animal tranquilizer, carfentanil, mixed into it.
"A single dose of Narcan would usually revive someone and bring them back to a normal state. What we are observing these days is our paramedic teams sometimes use 4 to 6, and even up to 7 doses of the Narcan antidote to be able to revive them completely," stated Lt. Rick Edwards who work with Akron police.
Public Addressed The Issue At 'Ending the Silence' Event
Beacon Journal sponsored a 3-hour event following a series that closely examined the state of opioid overdose crisis in the neighborhood and reinforced the point that there aren't any easy solutions to the problem.
The event also highlighted the fact that many people do care about this matter seriously and are willing to help in every way possible. An audience of about 450 local residents included a number of recovering addicts, public officials working on this issue and also family members of victims of this epidemic who have lost their loved ones to opioid overdoses.
James Nice, Akron Police Chief, mentioned that the public agencies in Akron, Summit County and nearby areas are overwhelmed as they are trying to deal with a big spike in deaths due to opioid overdose. “So please bear with us as this is a problem that's evolving at a high rate in our society,” he requested the audience that was present at the event.