KENOSHA – For the third time this year, Kenosha County Medical Examiner Patrice Hall is alerting residents to an increase in overdose deaths.
According to a release from Hall received Thursday, the local medical examiner’s office has responded to four overdose deaths since last week.
Hall called the recent overdoses “a sad reminder of the danger of the use of illegal drugs and the misuse of prescription medications.”
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time this year that we’ve seen multiple suspected overdose deaths over the course of just a few days,” Hall said.
“Resources are available in our community to help people struggling with drug use, and I encourage people to access them for themselves or loved ones. It could save lives.”
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Two overdose deaths in one night
Hall specified that the recent cases include two suspected overdose deaths in one night this week, and two cases over the past weekend.
While cautioning against the seeming heightened risk of overdose, Hall noted toxicology results will determine the specific causes of death.
Overdoses point to fentanyl still being a big issue
The suspected overdose deaths come amid local and national authorities’ push to educate the public on the dangers of fentanyl.
Authorities have detected fentanyl ⏤ a powerful opioid ⏤ mixed with various other drugs. Law enforcement reports finding it mixed with heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and also counterfeit prescription pills, according to the release.
Hall noted that using just a small amount of fentanyl can be deadly. Likewise, users often do not even realize it is in the substances they have obtained.
Fentanyl present in 40 overdose deaths in 2021
In 2021, fentanyl or a fentanyl analog contributed to 40 of the 53 toxicity deaths in Kenosha County, according to Hall.
Refraining from the use of illegal drugs and the misuse of prescriptions is a sure way to avoid overdose dangers. However, drug users can mitigate their risk.
“There’s a slogan that I ran across recently that says, ‘Some are not given the gift of recovery in time; fight for your life while you still have one,’” said Rebecca Dutter, director of the Kenosha County Division of Aging, Disability and Behavioral Health Services.
“From Narcan training and fentanyl test strips to crisis counseling and support groups,” said Kari Foss, Kenosha County Behavioral Health Manager, “there are many resources available for users and the people around them.”
Resources available to drug users and their loved ones
- Narcan, a life-saving medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, is available at no cost from Kenosha County Public Health. More information about this program is available at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/1916/Narcan-DistributionProgram, by calling 262-605-6741, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fentanyl test strips are also available from Kenosha County Public Health and are offered to people who receive Narcan. The strips can be used to detect the presence of fentanyl in other substances. Strips may be picked up from 8:30 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Kenosha County Public Health Job Center Clinic, 8600 Sheridan Road,Kenosha. For more information, call 262-605-6775. They are also available from Vivent Health-Kenosha, which may be reached at 262-657-6644 or online at https://viventhealth.org/locations/kenosha/.
- The Kenosha County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Center, which links people with substance use disorder resources, may be reached from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 262-764-8555.
- The Kenosha County Crisis Hotline, operated by Kenosha Human Development Services, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at 262-657-7188.
More information about other drug prevention and recovery programs and resources is available at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/1844/Drug-PreventionPrograms and https://www.saveliveskenosha.org.
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