Opiate overdose spike in Seneca County leads to state alert

Opiate overdose spike in Seneca County leads to state alert

SENECA COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - The Ohio Department of Health issued an opiate overdose alert for Seneca County over the weekend, sparking a response from county officials.

According to Seneca County EMS Director Ken Majors, his crews respond to an average of one opiate overdose a day.

But last week there was a worrying spike in overdoses as his crews responded to 10 within 48 hours.

Majors said the first overdose call came in Thursday afternoon and by Friday evening that number had risen to 10.

That prompted Majors to call the Ohio Department of Health to issue an overdose alert.

This made it possible for the county to receive an emergency stock of Narcan if needed.

But the overdose calls tapered off and only two have been called in since.

Majors is not sure what prompted the spike but wants to assure residents his staff was properly prepared

"It's worrisome that we have a spike like this. Why that's happening, I have no idea. I'm sure that the police and the law enforcement task force are doing what they're doing," said Majors. "I'm not sure why. Is it worrisome? Yes. But we're able to keep up with it."

Seneca County officials are planning an emergency community meeting after the rise in overdoses and are now taking assertive steps to go beyond awareness of the heroin epidemic and promote actual options for recovery.

Tuesday night at 7 p.m., the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties will hold a community addiction resource awareness meeting at the Little Faith Ministries Church in downtown Tiffin.

The board has worked with law enforcement and recovery centers for years to combat the heroin epidemic but feel more needs to be done in the community.

The hope is to better inform friends and family of opiate addicts on ways to combat the drug problem.

"What can we do? We are looking for solutions. I think we are beyond just educating about the need and the problem. We really are looking to give family members some solutions," said Mircea Handru, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

One of those solutions will be to set up a system of people currently going through recovery to volunteer at a phone bank for addicts.

"To have some peers in recovery be available for people to call in and talk to them. People just to have someone to talk to, ask them questions and make sure people are helping them navigate the system," said Handru.

There will also be a similar meeting held at the Fremont Municipal Building Wednesday at 7 p.m.

If anyone can't make the meeting, they can also call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board at 419-448-0640.

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