MIAMI COUNTY — Just a month into 2017, an alarming statistic is ticking upward in Miami County and around the state of Ohio.
Drug overdoses, including heroin and fentanyl, are on the rise.
According to Miami County Public Health Commissioner Dennis Propes, there were 786 emergency department visits at Upper Valley Medical Center for drug overdoses in 2016. In 2014, 354 overdoses were reported.
That’s an average of two visits per day and an increase of 120 percent since 2014. In 2017, the department received a $3,800 grant to purchase Naloxone (Narcan) for first responders to use and that money has already been spent.
The MCPH tracked Miami County 2016 drug interaction rates in emergency departments. In 2016, Troy had the most drug interactions in emergency departments with 282 cases; Piqua had 237, Tipp City 89 and West Milton had 74.
According to Troy Police Department Capt. Joe Long, the city of Troy recorded 22 overdoses in the month of January — compared to six overdoses the same month in 2016. The police department began tracking overdoses in 2016.
The state of Ohio is also feeling the weight of drug overdoses. Last weekend, Clark County recorded 50 drug-overdose related cases within 48 hours, according to the Springfield Regional Medical Center’s emergency department. Reports also state at one point during the incident, the city of Springfield’s ambulances were all tied up due to being dispatched to overdose calls and officials warned of delayed response times.
Washington Courthouse in Fayette County reported 30 overdoses in a 10-day period last month — six resulted in fatalities.
Sheriff Duchak noted the county has responded to nine overdoses in the county in the month of January. Two overdoses were reported in Union Township last weekend. Both were charged with drug abuse and possession.
“It’s all over the place. We are seeing a lot of fentanyl laced lab results and an increase in meth use as well,” Sheriff Duchak said.
Capt. Long also noted the city department is seeing an increase in methamphetamine cases due to the rise in heroin overdoses.
Tipp City EMS Chief Jeff Calicoatt reported medics have treated four overdoses since Jan. 1. One was reported on Interstate 75 at mile marker 66, two in the 500 block of West Main Street and one on Maynard Drive. Tipp City Police Chief Eric Burris reported one overdose incident where an officer administered Narcan to the victim last month.
The city of Piqua’s Chief Bruce Jamison reported his department has recorded 11 suspected overdoses last month, including two deaths that are pending investigation and toxicology results.
Substance abuse affects other health issues, include the risk of hepatitis, HIV and other diseases, due to the sharing of used needles.
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