“We want people to do anything they can in terms of harm reduction and we want to link them to resources if they are ready for treatment,” Schwartz said.
There are numerous local resources for people who are fighting addiction. The LocalHelpNow app provides local treatment options and residents of Montgomery County can call the Crisis Now hotline at 833-580-2255 for mental health issues and substance use disorders.
Recovery is a lifelong process, Suffoletto said, and someone who hasn’t used drugs in years might be triggered to do so around the holidays. He said it’s important to know that fentanyl is a big problem and can be found mixed with different types of drugs that makes those drugs even more dangerous than they were years ago.
Data from the Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team shows there have been about 18% fewer accidental overdose deaths between January and October than compared to the same time frame in 2021. However, there have been 23 suspected overdose deaths so far this month, compared to 15 accidental overdose deaths for all of November 2021.
There have been 266 suspected accidental overdose deaths so far this year.
The local health department offers surge alerts to notify people who use drugs and their support system when data shows using drugs is “even more risky than usual.” People can sign up for the surge alerts by texting their five-digit ZIP code to 937-582-8667. They can also sign up online at https://www.mccoat.org/odsurgealert.
Suffoletto said the overdose surge alerts provided to the community can be issued for non-fatal overdose surges, but in the most recent case fatal overdoses have caused the alert.