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PBC Medical Examiner: 590 Opioid Overdose Deaths In 2016

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If you live in Palm Beach, Florida, it’s likely that you know someone who has experienced an opioid drug abuse problem, overdose, or drug induced death. In 2016 alone, there were an estimated 590 opioid overdose deaths recorded by the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office – that’s double what was reported in 2015. This is no longer a “problem”; this has now become a public health crisis that requires attention.

Opioid Overdose Deaths

In 2016, someone died from an opioid overdose every 15 hours. According to a Palm Beach Post report, that is nearly double the amount of deaths resulting from fatal car accidents and even murder in the same year.

“That’s just a phenomenal number,” Dr. Michael Bell, the medical examiner said in a statement to the Palm Beach Post. “I don’t see any stop.”

What Drugs Are They Overdosing From?

Three hundred and ten (310) died from fentanyl, a prescription pain medicine that is 100 times stronger than morphine.

One hundred and nine (109) are said to have died from carfentanil, which is actually an elephant tranquilizer and is 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

Heroin that is laced with either fentanyl or carfentanil is the leading cause of these overdose deaths, and many heroin addicts may not even be fully aware that they are ingesting these drugs. Right now, China, the leading manufacturer of fentanyl, has placed a ban on the production and distribution of the drug as of March 1st, but will this be enough to curb these overdose deaths?

So far, 2017 has not shown promise of change towards the better. As of April 6th, Bell explained that his office has already received 157 overdose deaths. Toxicology reports are still being completed, so the office is unsure which drugs are the main cause – although we already have our guesses.

And for those of you using these drugs and thinking that naloxone will save you, think again. A typical dose of the overdose reversal drug is about a half milligram; however, carfentanil and fentanyl overdoses require EMTs to administer around 10 milligrams on just one patient.

Facing Heroin Addiction Head On

In the Palm Beach County commission meeting held on April 4, a plan of action was created in hopes to help fight the opioid crisis. But if we want to really fix the opioid epidemic, we need to combat heroin addiction with a solution. Many people believe that addicts today can’t get sober at all or without the life-long substitution of suboxone because these new drugs are so powerful. This is a false statement made by people who may not fully understand the disease of addiction. Addicts can and do recover from heroin addiction, even heroin that has been laced with other drugs, if they are willing to work towards their recovery.

The disease of addiction is the only disease that requires the person suffering to fully diagnose themselves. It is also one of the only diseases that can be recovered long-term with proper mental health resources as well as a life-long program of recovery. We tend to favor 12-step fellowships like AA and NA as they have been found to be the most effective long-term treatment of addiction in our experience of nearly 20 years treating addicts and alcoholics. There is hope and healing outside of addiction, but it must first start with the desire to stop and the willingness to do something about it.

If you are ready to stop heroin from taking over you or your loved one, then call us now at 800-861-1768. The suffering can stop now and it all can start with just one phone call.

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