Drug overdoses in Northern Kentucky skyrocketed after arrival of super-potent fentanyl and carfantenil

Drug overdoses in Northern Kentucky have skyrocketed as the super-potent opioids fentanyl and carfantenil have been added to the heroin supply, Terry DeMio reports for The Cincinnati Enquirer.

“In just three months, August, September and October, emergency
caregivers at the Northern Kentucky hospitals [of St. Elizabeth Healthcare] reversed 692 overdoses,
which is 60 percent of the number of overdose-reversal cases in all of
2015,” 1,168, DeMio reports. “The powerful synthetic opiates have been responsible for increasing overdose deaths in the region and the nation. Carfentanil is the large-animal tranquilizer that law enforcement first identified” in Cincinnati in July.

Ashel Kruetzkamp, nurse
manager for St. Elizabeth Edgewood’s emergency department, told DeMio, “A patient
stated they used heroin, but they really don’t know what they are
getting. Is it pure heroin or has it been cut to intensify the effect of
the drug?” Kruetzkamp said she only counts the cases in which the victim
admits to using heroin, so some heroin-related overdoses probably went unrecorded, DeMio notes.

St. Elizabeth recorded a record 308 overdoses in September, but emergency calls for overdoses in Northern Kentucky seem to have slowed since. “We
are starting to see a slight decrease since September’s spike,”
Kruetzkamp told DeMio. “We still have too many overdoses related to this
opiate epidemic in our community each and every day.”

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