Midstate Coroner: 'Absolutely no good batch' after spike in ODs

Written by Ted Czech/The York Daily Record | Mar 6, 2018 4:53 AM
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Susquehanna Township EMS Captain Dan Tempel collects information from a man who he just revived from a drug overdose. (Brett Sholtis/Transforming Health)

(York) -- On Sunday, when Pam Gay wrote a news release about the recent increase in heroin/fentanyl deaths in York County, there had been 12 suspected overdoses in the past nine days.

The next day, there had been another death, making it 13 suspected overdoses in 10 days, she said.

"I've been doing it lately when there's a spike, reminding people that this is still a real problem, it's not going away," she said Monday regarding her alert.

In the release, Gay wrote that sometimes during these increases, rumors among those who use heroin circulate that there may be a "bad batch" on the street.

"Please remember, as frequently emphasized by this office and the York Opioid Collaborative during their education efforts in our community, there is absolutely NO GOOD BATCH of heroin/fentanyl," Gay wrote.

She believes the addition of fentanyl by drug dealers is what is causing the rise in deaths.

"That's the drug they're mixing with heroin or calling heroin (when it may be completely fentanyl)," she said. "Fentanyl is stronger than heroin, sometimes 100 times stronger."

A domino effect of deaths sometimes takes place in the user culture as word of a highly potent mix of heroin/fentanyl spreads around. 

"Since the Opioid Epidemic began in 2014 in our community, we have often had periods when our heroin/fentanyl-related overdose deaths have increased for a period of time," Gay wrote. "In 2016, there was an increase during the months of February, July and October alone, each month with a total of 14 deaths related to heroin/fentanyl."

Then, in November, there were 16 deaths in 3 weeks. Those most susceptible to an overdose are those who have been off drugs for a while, those just out of prison, just out of rehab or living in a recovery house, Gay said.

She hoped that by putting the word out in the community, she might be able to save lives, in addition to reminding the public and addicts' families that they should equip themselves with naloxone, the anti-overdose drug.

How to help

If you suspect that your loved one is using drugs and may be looking for help, call York Adams Drug and Alcohol Commission at 1-866-769-6822 or call Not One More at 717-424-8890 or 717-850-6350 for further assistance and family support. 

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record. 


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