Louisville Experiences 52 Drug Overdoses in Just 32 Hours
Between midnight last Wednesday and 8 a.m. on Friday, emergency services in Louisville, KY responded to more than 50 overdose calls, reports spokesman for Louisville Metro Emergency Services Mitchell Burmeister.
That number was more than double the 25 calls for drug overdoses received by emergency responders during the same 32-hour time frame last week.
Burmeister reported that most of the calls were related to heroin, although an exact breakdown of causes is not available. In addition, emergency personnel also handled overdoses involving alcohol, prescription medications, and other controlled substances.
No drug overdoses were reported as a cause of death, but Burmeister says that one person using heroin was fatally injured in a car crash (the driver was using heroin, as well.)
This rash of overdoses is just the latest of many that have been popping up around the country. For example, in Cuyahoga County, OH, 14 overdose deaths occurred over a single weekend earlier this month.
And according to the coroner’s office in Montgomery County, Ohio, so far in 2017, more than 60% of the autopsies conducted have been related to overdose deaths.
In fact, reports from the coroner’s office state that is running out of room for the bodies.
The county’s massive increase in overdose deaths is largely due to heroin and fentanyl, a drug similar to heroin, but up to 50 times more potent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015, more than 33,000 people died from overdoses related to an opioid or opiate, including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription drugs such as oxycodone.
A Continuing Trend
The recent rash of overdoses is a part of a long-enduring trend in Louisville and elsewhere in the U.S. In January, Metro Emergency Services responded to nearly 700 overdose calls in January, an average of around 22 per day.
Mayor Greg Fischer addressed the problem during the State of the City address earlier this month, and stated that the police department was in the process of hiring 150 more officers, as well as adding two new squads of narcotic crime detectives:
“We’re collaborating with the DEA on overdose death investigations to get heroin dealers off our streets, and forming a task force with other agencies, including the FBI, the DEA, ATF, the U.S. Attorney, Kentucky State Police and the State Attorney General’s Office, to pursue, arrest and prosecute our most violent offenders.”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology