SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Troubling news out of Springfield as police report 19 overdoses in the past 24 hours.
Police notified Fox 45 about the overdoses Friday morning. Police say the overdoses were not fatal, but police are warning that there's a "bad batch" of opioids circulating.
The news comes on the heels of authorities in Montgomery County holding a Thursday afternoon news conference regarding a large fentanyl bust. Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said the news conference was much more than announcing a large drug bust. He and other authorities with the county, including the coroner, hope to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic hitting the region.
Dr. Kent Harshbarger from the Montgomery County Coroner's Office said more than half of the drug overdoses his offices has seen this year are due to fentanyl or carfentanil, products that are so strong. Harshbarger said "that next dose may be your last."
So far this year in Montgomery County, there have been between 182 and 208 deadly overdoses. If this continue on the same pace, the county could suffer between 750 and 800 overdose deaths this year.
Wendy Doolittle at the McKinley Hall Treatment Center in Springfield, is posing an alternative solution. She said there needs to be a warm hand at the emergency rooms (ER) to guide overdose victims to a safe place. If they can stay there for three to four days they can get a shot of Vivitrol to sooth the addiction, and possibly get on the right track. As long as an overdose victim received Naloxone at the ER they can take Vivitrol days later, and the shot will last roughly 30 days.
“70 percent of the people that are on that shot are employed, 95 percent are stably housed," Doolittle said of the people on Vivitrol at the treatment center. Some of the patients have been safely taking the dose monthly for two years.
She is working to get such a location started, and her group has already applied for one grant.
Earlier this year, Fox 45's Christian Hauser reported that in Montgomery County, there have been so many fatal overdoses the coroner's office is running out of space to store bodies.