As overdoses climb, communities look for solutions

Editorial: The use of Narcan should be expanded as the heroin epidemic worsens
Posted at 5:18 AM, Aug 31, 2021

Communities across the Tri-State are recognizing Tuesday as Overdose Awareness Day to bring attention to overdose deaths and to look for solutions to the issue.

In 2020, drug overdose deaths rose by about 30%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but most people didn't notice it due to the attention on the pandemic.

In August 2020, there were 260 overdose deaths in Hamilton County, and the county has 259 suspected overdose deaths to date in 2021.

"Not only have we ignored it during COVID, but if you look at it throughout the past several decades, we have ignored how we should be responding to addiction from the beginning," Newtown Police Chief and Hamilton Co. Addiction Response Coalition member Tom Synan said. "Our policies haven't been good. We aren't treating it as a mental medical health condition. We're still criminalizing addiction itself."

The coalition is working on a few ideas to lower the overdose death rate. One idea is focusing efforts on overdose hotspots.

Kentucky's Gov. Andy Beshear is also set to sign a proclamation Tuesday on administering naloxone — Narcan is the most common name brand. Beshear will also demonstrate how to use naloxone.

RELATED: Narcan: How to use the life-saving anti-overdose drug