Fentanyl is added to other drugs of abuse to increase their potency, or is disguised as highly potent heroin.
Public Health warned that many users believe that they are purchasing heroin or other drugs, and don’t know that they are purchasing fentanyl, which often results in overdose deaths.
“Generally speaking a lot of overdoses are related to fentanyl but each case is going to be different,” said Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health.
Due to the high levels of fentanyl being mixed with other drugs, it is possible that more than one dose of Narcan may be needed to reverse the effects of fentanyl and save those who overdose.
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While there is no safe way to use illegal drugs, it is important that drug users, their friends and family, and the public are aware of steps they can take to help reduce the risk of death.
Safety recommendations for people who use drugs include:
• Call Samaritan Crisis Care 24/7 at 224-4646 for crisis, treatment and referral.
• Have Narcan available, and someone who can administer it, in case of an overdose;
• do not use drugs that contain or may contain fentanyl;
• do not use drugs alone;
• do not share needles;
• and in the event of an overdose, call 911 immediately.
There are also services to help those who inject drugs reduce the chances they will do additional harm to themselves and others. The local program, CarePoint, includes the exchange of used syringes for clean ones, and referrals for substance abuse treatment and other health and social services. Call Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County at 973-496-7133 for more information.
The efforts of the Community Overdose Action Team — made of different government and nonprofit agencies — helped drive down the number of overdose deaths from a record 566 in 2017 to 289 in 2018.
While overdoses have claimed fewer lives so far this year than in 2017, the community is still grappling with the opioid overdose crisis.
There were 209 accidental overdose deaths in Montgomery County from January through September this year, according to preliminary Public Health data. That compares to 203 overdose deaths the same time last year.
Overdose reversal training
Project Dawn Montgomery County offers free weekly classes to learn about naloxone (also called Narcan), an overdose reversal medication. Participants receive a take-home naloxone kit.
The class is noon Wednesdays at 601 Edwin C. Moses Blvd, Door F, CrisisCare entrance in Dayton. Please arrive 15 minutes early to register.
Call 937.734.8333 to schedule a group training.