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More heroin/Fentanyl deaths than traffic fatalities

Thursday, Jun 30, 2016

* Wow

Will County Coroner Patrick O’Neil has been tracking heroin deaths for a long time, and sounded the alarm several years ago when he believed the problem was reaching epidemic proportions.

Initially, he saw five or six deaths in a year, but then he saw those numbers double, triple and quadruple.

This year, the county could have its worst year ever as far as deaths due to heroin and opiate overdoses. The reason? Fentanyl — a powerful synthetic opiate, blamed in the recent death of musician Prince, that is cheaper than heroin and is often mixed with it, or offered to an unsuspecting buyer in the guise of being heroin.

Last year, Will County recorded 53 overdose deaths linked to heroin and fentanyl — more than the 51 deaths caused by traffic accidents in the county. The numbers were even worse in Cook County, where the 526 heroin and fentanyl deaths last year were more than double the 240 traffic fatalities. […]

The state’s Heroin Crisis Act, which took effect Jan. 1, will, in part, increase access to naloxone, which local police departments and paramedics have credited with saving lives.

Without the access to naloxone — the new law also requires it be made available at pharmacies — Will County could “easily have over 300″ heroin related deaths, O’Neil said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - Anon221 - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 10:24 am:

    Here is the interview that Jon posted about on another thread that was on the 21st yesterday- http://will.illinois.edu/player/audio/heroin-in-central-illinois-new-pediatric-sleep-guidelines.
    The interview with Lynn Scovill Executive Director of HRC begins at 22:40. Their gofundme account is at https://www.gofundme.com/28r74mk. DeWitt County population is around 16,300+. The future of HRC- 35:00. Kevin Barlow- Addiction Problem becomes a Mental Health Problem becomes a Police Enforcement Problem. When HRC shuts down today, who will the State pay??? What happens to those contracted dollars that are finally released if an organization that continued to carry the State in good faith no longer exists??? This is not just a DeWitt County question.


  2. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 10:28 am:

    The prescription opiod crisis really hit home for me the other day seeing a commercial marketing a new drug for managing opiod side effects complete with the opiod being an anthropomorphic pill cartoon character.


  3. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 10:32 am:

    Maybe this will get us to shift strategy on the war on drugs. I do not support full legalization because there would still be an economic incentive and marketing programs to create addicts.

    My preferred solution would mix state distribution of less dangerous drugs like marijuana, medical treatment of people addicted to heroin, and extremely harsh treatment of people who sell highly dangerous drugs like meth and fentanyl.

    This approach is partly based on breaking the profitability of the illegal drug trade.Better a government monopoly than the violent free market that we have today.


  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 10:45 am:

    –The prescription opiod crisis really hit home for me the other day seeing a commercial marketing a new drug for managing opiod side effects complete with the opiod being an anthropomorphic pill cartoon character.–

    I saw that. Surreal.

    Big Pharma and the docs are the prescription opiod pushers who provide the gateway to heroin and fentanyl.

    The quadrupling of opiod prescriptions in ten years was the result of a business marketing plan, not any medical situation.

    And nobody in DC dares call them out on it.


  5. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 11:25 am:

    Word,
    You reinforce my dislike of marketing for addictive drugs.

    We are extremely cautious about the use of painkillers. My youngest daughter had a classmate die from a heroin overdose. Too close to home.


  6. - Harry - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    Yeah, well, my wife has severe, chronic pain problems and fentanyl lets her have something of a life. In our rush to save people who knowingly put illegal stuff into their bodies to get a rush or a high, let’s not punish people who really need the medicine.


  7. - Last Bull Moose - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 12:07 pm:

    Harry,
    Cautious use of painkillers is not a ban on their use. We have needed to use a lot of drugs in this household over the past year. Glad they were available.

    Sorry about your wife’s pain.


  8. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 12:11 pm:

    El Chapo said in 2006 he was going to make Chicago his =home port= in America for cocaine, heroin and meth.

    He succeeded.

    Prescription opioids can be just as threatening and addictive as the heroin flooding into Chicago. They might be even more dangerous because prescription drugs are =approved= by the FDA and generally seen as =safe=. Many addicts that start with pills end with needles.


  9. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 1:07 pm:

    A positive step toward what is a public health problem, not a criminal one.


  10. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 1:40 pm:

    There was a radio story from California (?) discussing the opioid addiction problem and the overdose deaths due to fentanal. One of the comments was there is an even more powerful synthetic opioid coming onto the market. The public health department said there isn’t a test for the new drug and they are not sure if naloxone is going to work. The police departments have been instructed not to touch fentanal or the new drug because they can be absorbed through the skin.


  11. - frisbee - Thursday, Jun 30, 16 @ 3:59 pm:

    how many people have died from the medical cannabis that is now legal in Illinois? oh yeah nobody has ever died from a cannabis overdose. other states have seen a 20% drop in opioid overdose deaths after medical cannabis becomes available, hopefully IL sees a similar reduction


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