A Message from the OhioMHAS Medical Director’s Office: Opioid Overdoses Related to Carfentanyl
In recent weeks, a highly potent opioid has been identified as the likely contributor to a number of overdose deaths in the Akron and Columbus areas. This compound, carfentanyl, has a potency approximately 10,000 times that of morphine and 100 times that of fentanyl, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is not detected by routine drug screens. In cases of suspected carfentanyl overdose, clinical experience in emergency settings has demonstrated the need for dosing of naloxone in excess of the usual amount required to reverse opioid-related overdose symptoms. EMS providers have reported administering 4-7 doses of naloxone to reverse overdose symptoms in a significant percentage of patients with suspected carfentanyl overdose. Overdose victims not responding to typical doses of naloxone may require additional naloxone dosing due to the presence of this highly-potent opioid. This additional dosing can provide life-saving benefit in cases of carfentanyl overdose.
Drug Addiction in Dublin
Randy Williams got hooked on pain medication after suffering an injury at age 17. The 2003 Dublin Coffman High School graduate eventually turned to heroin and struggled with a dangerous addiction before dedicating himself to recovery. Hear his story in his own words.
Heroin abuse continues to be problem throughout Ohio, and Dublin is not immune to this epidemic. In 2014, Dublin Police responded to 38 incidents that involved heroin. Those incidents include possession, distribution and overdoses. The incidents were up from 24 in 2013, 23 in 2012 and 19 in 2011.
Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg stresses that many crimes are committed by known or suspected heroin users but not classified as a “heroin incident,” so the problem is actually more pervasive than what the data can show.
In late 2015, the City of Dublin took steps to encourage a community solution for this community problem. Dublin Police hosted a Community Town Hall on Heroin Abuse, in partnership with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office, Dublin A.C.T. Coalition, Dublin P.E.R.C., Syntero of Dublin and Dublin City Schools.
“It feels great to live in a community that cares and is willing to be proactive and try to get in front of a problem.” Mark Brubaker, Dublin resident
Approximately 200 people attended the Community Town Hall at the Dublin Community Recreation Center on December 9, 2015. The meeting marked the beginning of an educational campaign to make Dublin residents more aware of the heroin epidemic and how it is affecting families and property crimes in Dublin.
“We want to educate the community,” says Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg. “I think a lot of people are surprised to learn that heroin is here, in Dublin, right now, and it is affecting us all, whether or not someone close to you is struggling with addiction. A large number of our property crimes are directly tied to heroin abuse and addiction.”
Dublin Police personnel continue to work with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office and other community partners to offer ongoing educational opportunities for the community.
Signs of heroin use:
- Slurred speech, slow movements, runny nose/eyes, constricted pupils, increased fatigue/unusual amount of sleeping.
- Change in friends, decline in grades, neglected hygiene and appearance.
- Unexplained small foil balls or plastic bags/balloons, capsules, Visine Eye Drops squirt bottle (used for snorting), missing items such as spoons, aluminum foil, checks or cash or patterns of borrowing money with nothing to show for it.
- If your child is injecting, his/her drug use has likely progressed. Track marks are a giveaway, but users who inject are typically doing so in hidden places on their bodies.
*Source: Drug Free Action Alliance
Do you know what heroin looks like?
The baggies on the left contain raw heroin in solid form (brown substance).
The blue balloon holds the plastic baggies with the raw heroin inside.
The bags on the right contain small multicolored balloons with black tar heroin inside.
A closer look at small balloons containing tar heroin.
A heroin injection “kit.” Clockwise from left:
- Spoon used to cook the heroin into liquid form
- Tie-off (can be anything from an exercise rubberband, a belt, or a piece of clothing, etc.)
- The clear container just held all of the other items
- Paper towel
- Syringe (hypodermic needle)
Plastic wrapping around a balloon containing tar heroin.
Plastic wrapping and balloon opened up to reveal heroin.
Dublin Community Takes Next Step in Fight Against Opiates
Dublin is advancing in its battle against heroin and prescription drug abuse.
The Dublin ACT Coalition last week led a community workshop to come up with an action plan to fight the heroin and opiate problem that has spread throughout the country.
Many heroin abusers first become addicted to prescription pills and then transition to heroin, which can be cheaper and more easily accessible. The City of Dublin has taken steps to educate the public about prescription pill abuse, including placing a prescription pill drop box at the Justice Center, located at 6565 Commerce Parkway. The box is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The box provides a convenient, safe and environmentally-friendly way for Dublin residents to dispose of unused or expired medications, which can keep unused pills from getting into the wrong hands.
Addiction a Chronic Disease of the Brain, Not a Character Flaw: Surgeon General
Many people still see addiction as a character flaw instead of a chronic disease of the brain, according to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. He told The Huffington Post that to address the opioid epidemic, it is necessary to “change how our country sees addiction.”
Almost two million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids, Dr. Murthy told the publication’s Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington. Read more – http://www.drugfree.org/news-service/addiction-chronic-disease-brain-not-character-flaw-surgeon-general/
DrugRehab.com – /www.drugrehab.com/addiction
Dublin A.C.T. Coalition – www.dublinact.org
Drug Free Action Alliance – www.drugfreeactionalliance.org
Off The Wagon – The National Organization of Students Against Substance Abuse – www.offthewagon.org/teen-rehab
Ohio Attorney General’s Office – www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Individuals-and-Families/Victims/Drug-Diversion
Operation Street Smart – https://sheriff.franklincountyohio.gov/programs/operation-street-smart-drug-education.cfm
P.E.R.C. (Parents Encouraging Responsible Choices) – www.percdublin.org
Parent Resource Guide – www.dublinact.org/resources.html
Start Talking! – http://starttalking.ohio.gov
Syntero, Inc. – www.syntero.org
Precision Labs (drug testing services) – www.urinalysislabs.com
Ridgeview Behavioral Hospital – http://ridgeviewhospital.net
The Woods at Parkside – http://www.thewoodsatparkside.com
The Prevention Coalition is a group dedicated to educating parents, teachers and concerned community members about teen drug use and ways to prevent it. Their website includes many great resources. You’ll find:
- The Effects of Drug Abuse
- Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment Guide
- What Happens to the Family When Addiction Becomes a Part of It?
- Drug Abuse Prevention Starts with Parents
- Preventing Substance Abuse Among Youth in Foster Care
- Female Veterans and Drug Addiction: 15 Ways to Support their Ongoing Battle
- Substance Abuse in Senior Citizens: Recognizing the Signs
Heroin at Home: An Ohio Epidemic – 10TV
Marin’s Story: The Battle against Heroin
Dublin Police Officers to Carry Narcan
Effective January 1, 2016 Dublin Police officers on patrol and investigators will carry Narcan, a drug that can reverse the effects of heroin and other opiates in the case of an overdose.
Dublin Police Chief Heinz von Eckartsberg made the announcement during a Dec. 9 Dublin town hall meeting about heroin.
Dublin City Schools to Stock Schools with Naloxone
Dublin City Schools will have Naloxone in all of its schools. Employees will be trained in how to administer he anti-overdose drug. Administrators say they will train 20 percent of its staff including teachers, coaches and custodians. The district adopted a policy to carry have it on all 20 campuses.