FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 27, 2017
Contact: Mike Samet, PIO, 513-946-7873
HAMILTON COUNTY, OH….. The Hamilton County Heroin Coalition issued an alert today to the community, first responders and providers that the County has seen an increase in accidental drug overdose deaths as well as overdose-associated emergency department visits, especially for the month of February.
“This is not a formal warning or an emergency at this point,” according to Tom Synan, Chief of the Newtown Police Department and a member of the Coalition. “However, after what we saw last fall, we want to proceed with an abundance of caution to get in front of any potential issues.”
Hamilton County Coroner, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco reports that there were 414 certified accidental overdose deaths in 2015. “In 2016, we certified 388 deaths with 25 cases still pending certification.. For comparison purposes, from January 15, 2016 through February 26, 2016, we certified 49 overdose deaths. For the same period in 2017, we have a suspected 94 overdose deaths. We are certainly concerned about this increase,” Sammarco added.
Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram, whose agency tracks and reports on emergency department visits and 911 dispatches, compared data for the past two months. “In January of this year, our daily average for emergency department visits was 6.4. We’ve seen that increase to nearly 10,” Ingram adds.
“We are also very concerned with communicable diseases associated with injection drug use,” Ingram says. “Hepatitis C is the most-reported communicable disease in the County. We are asking users to be extremely careful not to share injection equipment. In addition, for families and friends of users, keep the overdose-reversing drug, naloxone available. The drug can be purchased over-the-counter at many pharmacies throughout the area. And finally, there is a way to get people into treatment. Call the Addiction Services Council at 513-281-7880.”
Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus, who also chairs the Coalition, says this type of reporting is what the coalition is all about. “As you can see, these reports represent the partnership between law enforcement, public health, the Coroner’s office and the medical community to monitor and quickly react to conditions throughout Hamilton County. By working together to catch issues early, we can respond quickly and hopefully save lives.”
The Hamilton County Heroin Coalition provides Countywide and regional leadership and solutions to address the heroin and opiate epidemic both immediately and in the long-term. We are committed to assisting our residents and neighbors with the emergency support that they need, as well as working to prevent the spread of drug use in our youth before it begins.
Through collaboration between public health officials, law enforcement, prevention experts and treatment providers, we can make an impact on this pressing public health and public safety issue. Learn more at www.injecthope.com.
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Posted by: Christy Cauley