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The Concerned Residents Of Sussex County Have Been Making Efforts To Battle The Rising Heroin Epidemic

In Sussex County, there has been a 60% rise in deaths resulting from accidental overdose ever since 2015. Between January and August 2016, 21 people have died as a result of an accidental overdose. Fentanyl, opioid pain medication that is significantly more potent than morphine, is being claimed to be responsible for this serious rise in overdoses. Drug deals in Sussex County are now selling a deadly mixture of fentanyl and heroin.

It was in August 2015 that the first death occurred, resulting from an accidental overdose of a fentanyl and heroin mixture. Ever since, the mixture has lead to 10 more overdose-related deaths this year. Fentanyl had become popular as an illegal drug back in the 1970s. Both fentanyl and heroin result in the same biological effects, but those of fentanyl are considerably more potent. It is possible to smoke or snort fentanyl, or take it intravenously.

Not only is fentanyl lethal, its mere presence can prove to be deadly since the skin can absorb it merely through contact. Even law enforcement officers in Sussex County are advised to be careful when dealing with fentanyl, avoiding touching it whenever possible. Reportedly, exposure the drug can make a person feel as if they are dying, as if their body is shutting down.

Fortunately, officers in Sussex County have been cautious whenever handling fentanyl and there have been no incidents. However, drug field testing has been dismissed since mere skin contact with the drug may lead to an overdose. Whenever in the field, officers generally always carry extra Narcan, an FDA-approved aerosol medicine that blocks the effects of opioids, and also have a partner with them. Narcan can effectively counter the effects of several different prescription narcotics and since heroin overdose-related deaths are due to the inability to breathe, it also helps restore breathing.

Over the past 18 months, Narcan has been used over 80 times. Programs like the C.L.E.A.R. Program have also been initiated to combat overdose deaths in Sussex County. It was back in July when the program was launched and it provides a sanctuary of sorts to people with substance use disorders. These people end up willingly turning in illegal paraphernalia and substances, and they and their family members are then referred to certified volunteer recovery coaches.

Sussex County is currently in an ongoing and raging battle against the heroin epidemic. In regards to that, an open forum discussion was conducted late in October at the Georgetown-based Sussex Central High, where addiction was the topic of the discussion. Some of the community members that attended the discussion had once been addicts themselves. People also shared their personal experiences during the panel discussion, and also promoted hope and treatment for people who are struggling with addiction.

For the residents of Sussex County, especially parents, education about the heroin epidemic, and substance abuse in general, is crucial. Anywhere between 60% and 70% of people suffering from heroin addiction had once started using prescription drugs for legal purposes. Efforts to educate the local community and medical professionals about the hazards of opioid abuse are being made through Sussex County. Teaching the locals how to recognize addictions is also a part of the education. The earlier such problems are caught, the more likely it becomes for a potential addict to recover from the addiction.


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