Clark County drug overdoses double in 24-hour spike


Clark County has seen a spike in opioid-related drug overdoses this week — double what’s typically seen — in just a 24-hour period, according to local health leaders.

The Clark County Combined Health District sent an alert to other county agencies that the emergency department at Springfield Regional Medical Center has seen at least 13 opioid-related drug overdoses between 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

RELATED: Springfield partnership shows promise for heroin-addicted moms

Four deaths this week are suspected to be drug-related, Clark County Coroner Dr. Richard Marsh said, but that’s not confirmed yet.

The county typically averages about five to six drug overdoses per day, according to the health district.

The Ohio Department of Health alerted the district about the spike on Wednesday morning, Clark County Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said.

The county health district believes a batch of illicit, synthetic fentanyl is out on the street in place of heroin, Patterson said.

“It’s probably what’s causing these additional overdoses over these last 24 hours,” he said.

READ MORE: Four indicted after Clark County bust found $400K in drugs

Local agencies are on high alert and preparing staff members, including public safety, Springfield Regional Medical Center, and local mental health and addiction services.

“We need the word out there very quickly to try to save lives to make sure that people are watching very carefully with the drugs that are on the street today,” Patterson said.

The majority of drug deaths in Clark County since 2015 have involved illicit fentanyl, Marsh said, which is 50 times more powerful than heroin.

“There are all kinds of labs producing it now and it’s out there,” Marsh said. “Just a little bit is enough to be fatal.”

Last year the county saw 68 overdose deaths through November, according to health district statistics. Since that time, there have been 19 more deaths that may be drug-related, he said.

In 2015, there were 73 overdose drug deaths in Clark County, Marsh said. Drug abuse is a major disease that’s having a great impact on Clark County and other areas throughout the country.

“I honestly wish I had an answer (to stop the epidemic), but I don’t,” he said. “It’s out there and it’s causing great devastation to families and our whole community. If I had an answer, it would be wonderful.”

DETAILS: Pet owners harm animals for drugs

At the emergency department at the hospital, Narcan was used in every overdose, Patterson said.

Earlier this month, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a measure to combat the heroin and opiate addiction in Ohio, including requiring pharmacy technicians to register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and limits opiate subscriptions.

Despite investing almost $1 billion a year to fight drug abuse and addiction, accidental overdoses claimed 3,050 lives in Ohio in 2015, up 20.5 percent over 2014.

Parents must educate their children not to use these types of drugs, Patterson said. The district also wants families to keep an eye on relatives who may be users, he said.

“It’s not a drug to mess with,” Patterson said. “Once you’re hooked, it’s very difficult to get off. There aren’t too many paths once you’ve been hooked on the drug.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Toddler drowns in babysitter's pool, twin brother hospitalized, deputies say
Toddler drowns in babysitter's pool, twin brother hospitalized, deputies say

A young girl drowned and her twin brother was hospitalized Friday after they were found in a swimming pool while staying with a babysitter in Tennessee, according to Knox County sheriff’s deputies. The children, who were identified only as nearly 2-year-old twins, were staying at a home on Fox Lonas Road in West Knox County when the incident...
A first-of-its-kind Ohio program offers thousands of free training courses from libraries
A first-of-its-kind Ohio program offers thousands of free training courses from libraries

Ohio will be the first state to expand its online library learning program statewide, allowing any Ohioan with a valid library card to take thousands of small, free online courses, whether for fun or to bolster a work resume. While some of the software tutorials and job interviewing videos take a matter of minutes, the system also offers numerous structured...
Marine son stationed overseas surprises firefighter father for his birthday
Marine son stationed overseas surprises firefighter father for his birthday

A Marine stationed in Norway traveled around the globe to surprise his father in South Carolina on his birthday. The two reunited in an emotional moment at Friday’s celebration for Perry Clanton, an assistant volunteer fire chief, in Lancaster, South Carolina. Family and friends gathered for the occasion at the Buford Fire and Rescue building...
'I'm just lost': Relatives talk about losing 9 family members in duck boat accident
'I'm just lost': Relatives talk about losing 9 family members in duck boat accident

A metro Atlanta man told WSBTV that he is “just lost” after losing nine of his relatives in a duck boat accident on Missouri’s Table Rock Lake on Thursday. “I don’t know. I can’t place it. I can’t imagine it,” Gary Coleman told WSBTV. “We’ve had a death in the family — one or two...
Captain said not to worry about life jackets before deadly duck boat crash, survivor says
Captain said not to worry about life jackets before deadly duck boat crash, survivor says

A woman who lost nine family members when a duck boat capsized in Missouri’s Table Rock Lake on Thursday said the captain of the boat told passengers not to worry about life jackets before the accident. Tia Coleman was one of the 11 members of the Coleman family to board the duck boat Thursday, according to WXIN-TV. She told the TV station that...
More Stories