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Public Health Overdose Alert

March 17, 2017

March 17, 2017

Heroin

Public Health Alert: Overdose Activity Increases

Dear Colleagues,

The daily Hamilton County overdose surveillance reports for March 16 and 17 have indicated a spike in activity. The daily ED visit counts were each over double the prior week average and overdose-associated 911 dispatch counts were also elevated.

Furthermore, as of 12:00 pm March 16, public health surveillance of emergency department (ED) visits for Hamilton County observed that drug-related patient encounters surpassed the expected visit count threshold. A total of 26 drug-related ED visits among Hamilton County residents occurred during the previous 24 hour period. A second anomaly was then detected around 9:00 pm indicating a sustained increase in the activity through the evening.

Local public health partners and the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition are issuing this alert to increase 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

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