Friday, September 22, 2017
By Ed Runyan
Trumbull County health officials continue sounding the alarm on drug overdoses, reporting there have been 34 since Monday, causing a second epicenter alert from the Ohio Department of Health this week.
The county Combined Health District and Mental Health and Recovery Board issued a similar alert Tuesday, saying there had been 18 overdoses in the previous 24 hours with at least two deaths.
At just after noon Thursday, those agencies reported that due to the high number of overdoses, people are being urged to seek help if they are addicted to drugs.
The notice also is intended to warn illicit drug users there are especially deadly drugs in the community and to be on alert, said April Caraway, executive director of the mental health and recovery board.
Caraway said cost should not be a barrier to treatment in the county.
“We pay certified behavioral health and detox centers with whom we contract for people to get the help they need if they don’t have Medicaid or private insurance,” she said.
She encourages people to call 211 to be linked to treatment.
Caraway said emergency rooms, police departments, fire departments and ambulance personnel have been “inundated with people overdosing and in crisis.”
She encouraged people to check people they know with addiction issues and urge them to get help.
Frank Migliozzi, county health commissioner, said there have been 130 overdoses since the start of this month. The highest month on record for the county was March, when there were 189 overdoses.
Caraway said at the current rate, September could match the March rate. The third-highest month so far was July with 117. Last month, there were 77.
Officials believe there have been about 70 overdose deaths through August.
Caraway said the information the state health department uses to issue an epicenter alert comes from discussions the local health board has with emergency rooms in the county.
The information is sent back to the local health department and recovery board when it meets a threshold. Caraway said she doesn’t know what the threshold is.