Public Health Alert: Overdose Activity Increase Continues
The daily Hamilton County overdose surveillance reports for March 16 – 18 have indicated a continued spike in activity. The daily ED visit and 911 dispatch counts each remain over double the previous week average for today’s report.
Furthermore, as of 1:00 am March 18, public health surveillance of emergency department (ED) visits for Hamilton County observed that drug-related patient encounters again surpassed the expected visit count threshold. A total of 36 drug-related ED visits among Hamilton County residents occurred during the previous 24 hour period. The multiple anomalies that have occurred since March 16 further indicate a sustained increase in the activity throughout this period.
Local public health partners and the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition are updating the alert issued on March 17 to continue to facilitate increased community awareness and advise first responders, healthcare providers, and substance users and their families of the increased risk for overdose in our community. This alert should serve as a notice to consider adjusting response capacity and implementing necessary protective measures which should include:
- having available and using necessary personal protective equipment
- avoid using street drugs alone
- carrying naloxone and being prepared to use multiple doses when necessary.
Currently, we do not know what may be driving this recent change in activity. However, the increased risk is evident and drawing upon recent past increases in activity, a change in the composition of illicit street drugs in our community is likely (including mixtures of opiates, fentanyl, carfentanil, and other synthetics).
We appreciate your continued collaboration.
Posted by: Christy Cauley