Clark County sees another big spike of at least 40 overdoses in 5 days


Clark County has once again seen a rash of drug overdoses, prompting alerts from the Ohio Department of Health.

The Springfield Regional Medical Center treated at least 40 overdose patients at its emergency department between April 3 and today, including 12 on Tuesday and 13 on Thursday, according to data from the hospital.

Health leaders suspect a stronger, different batch of illicit fentanyl has reached the streets, Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

“The best message at this point is for people to watch their loved ones very closely,” Patterson said.

The number doesn’t include overdose patients who received Narcan from medics but refused to go to the hospital.

RELATED: Rash of overdoses in Springfield strains resources

The emergency department typically sees about four overdoses per day. As of Wednesday morning, Springfield Regional Medical Center had treated 12 overdoses in the past 12 hours, more than three times over the threshold limit — prompting the Ohio Department of Health to alert local health officials, Patterson said.

The Clark County Combined Health District has reached out to other communities with similar drug issues to talk about what can be done immediately to end the increase in overdoses, Patterson said.

“Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of great, clear answers to stop what we’re seeing in this three-day anomaly,” Patterson said. “We’re just not coming up with how to do stop this today. That’s an answer that’s escaping us.”

As of Sunday, the Springfield Fire/Rescue Division had treated 27 patients for overdoses, including 19 who received Narcan, Chief Nick Heimlich said. The drugs are cheaper and the supply is different than what people are using, he said.

“One week it might be a stronger batch and the next week it might not,” Heimlich said.

On Wednesday, community leaders met to discuss what it can do to fill in the treatment gaps to reduce opioid addiction in the community.

The county saw similar overdose spikes in January, including 50 in one weekend, but it’s unclear if this is a trend or a simply an anomaly, Patterson said.

MORE: Springfield employers learn about heroin’s impact on brain, workers

“There are no models that tell us what comes next,” Patterson said.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office hasn’t investigated any suspected drug deaths over the past three days, Coroner Dr. Richard Marsh.

“It seems to be holding off this time,” Marsh said.

The majority of the 79 drug deaths in Clark County last year involved heroin and illicit fentanyl, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin. There have been 42 unconfirmed drug deaths in Clark County this year.

About half of the people who died of drug overdoses last year were between the ages of 45 and 64, records show. Nearly 89 percent of the people who died were white.

SOCIAL MEDIA: FOLLOW REPORTER MICHAEL COOPER ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.

Nearly 500 people have died of drug overdoses in Clark County since 1998, according to coroner’s office records. More than half of those people — 265 — have died in the past five years, the result of the opioid epidemic.

As of Wednesday, the Springfield Police Division has responded to 317 overdose calls, according to statistics from the Clark County Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Support Coalition.

In 2015, more than 1,155 Ohioans died of fentanyl-related drug overdoses. At the same time, more than 19,000 doses of Narcan were administered statewide to reverse the effects of opioids. It typically takes more than one dose to revive a patient from an overdose.

About $1 million over the past two years has been spent to make sure each Ohio county has access to Narcan kits, said Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services spokesman Eric Wandersleben. Those kits have led to more than 2,200 lives saved, he said.

SPRINGFIELD’S OPIOID WAR

Feb. 13: Overdose epidemic spreads, strains Springfield first responders

March 20: Demand for, debate over Narcan soars in Springfield

March 21: Clark County to charge addicts who OD and don’t seek treatment

March 24: Clark County drug overdose deaths reach record number

April 6: Clark County leaders pledge to fight addiction stigma, OD crisis



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Crime

Man tries to hire hitman to kill ex-wife for $10,000, Hawks tickets
Man tries to hire hitman to kill ex-wife for $10,000, Hawks tickets

An Acworth inmate promised $10,000 and two Atlanta Hawks tickets to anyone who would kill his ex-wife and her current boyfriend. Word got around, including to an FBI informant. >> Read more trending news  Michael Lawrence Dane McEarchern, 29, was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday, according to federal court documents. McEarchern was...
Atlanta mayor racks up nearly $12,000 in limousine tab in less than 5 months
Atlanta mayor racks up nearly $12,000 in limousine tab in less than 5 months

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has spent nearly $12,000 of taxpayer money on limousines in just five months, according to an investigation by WSB-TV and the  Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AJC.com. >> Read more trending news  An Atlanta City Hall spokesperson said that you can’t put a price tag on the mayor’s...
Parents file lawsuit after daughter drowns when she’s swept over dangerous dam while kayaking
Parents file lawsuit after daughter drowns when she’s swept over dangerous dam while kayaking

The parents of a kayaker who drowned after she was swept over a dam on the Ohio River last year are suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. >> Read more trending news  Brittany Evans and Helene Brandy, both 25 years old, were killed when they went over the Dashields Dam in May of 2017.  The dam is located along the Ohio River...
Video shows black bear snarfing down family’s picnic in Georgia
Video shows black bear snarfing down family’s picnic in Georgia

A bear made a beeline for a picnic table in Pickens County, Georgia. The incident was caught on camera, WSB-TV reported. Video shows black bear snarfing down family’s picnic in Georgia. The large female black bear can be seen in the video climbing onto the picnic table and grabbing a package of hot dogs buns at the Big Canoe community in...
Mystery of glamorous Goodwill slides solved, family located in Midwest
Mystery of glamorous Goodwill slides solved, family located in Midwest

Their story has captivated the world. A metro Atlanta mom shopping at a local Goodwill happened upon their trove of memories. Eager to reunite the treasures with their owners, she sent a modern-day message in a bottle - a Facebook post - onto the roaring seas of social media.  >> Read more trending news   A story in The Atlanta...
More Stories