WASHINGTON ― Louisville, Kentucky, has seen an alarming spike in drug overdoses in recent days. According to The Courier-Journal newspaper, first responders took on 52 calls for overdoses in the 32 hours from 12:01 a.m. Thursday until 8 a.m. Friday. One overdose was fatal.
The high number of overdoses isn’t new to Louisville and the surrounding county. Jefferson County had been averaging 22 overdoses a day this year. There have already been 695 overdoses through the first month of 2017, according to The Courier-Journal.
Of the 52 calls, 34 overdose victims were rushed to emergency rooms. A spokesperson for emergency services personnel described the overdoses as the “same old, same old.” The majority of the overdoses were caused by heroin or medications.
Lexington, Kentucky, is facing the same stubborn opioid crisis. A recent news account noted that there were 134 overdose deaths in the city in 2015 and by November of 2016, the city had reach the same death toll. First responders had dispensed 1,550 doses of naloxone, which counters the effects of opioid overdoses, in 2016.
The overdoses seem to be the new normal in Kentucky. Just days ago, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer gave his State of the City address. He referenced heroin only one time. He did not mention the hundreds of overdose cases nor the rise in fentanyl-related deaths. In the county, deaths from overdoses of the synthetic opioid rose from 26 in 2015 to 139 last year.
The state has one of the highest fatal overdose rates in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The heroin epidemic exposed the state’s treatment facilities as antiquated and inadequate, according to a Huffington Post investigation published in 2015.
The fact that there was only one fatality early Friday suggests Kentucky’s expanded access to naloxone might be working as intended.