Opioid crisis: Heroin overdoses seven times above normal

Police say they are on high alert and doing everything they can to get to the bottom of the crisis.

Posted: Sep. 28, 2018 7:21 PM
Updated: Sep. 28, 2018 7:21 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- With the number of heroin overdoses reaching seven times the normal amount in Lane County, officials are calling this an opioid crisis.

KEZI 9 News reporter Jessica Babb rode along with Springfield Police Officer Larry Turner, who said police are on high alert and doing everything they can to get to the bottom of what's happening.

With 27 heroin overdoses in just a week, Turner said everyone should be concerned.

“It’s horrible,” Turner said. “It’s becoming a major issue.”

Officials said heroin laced with an opioid like fentanyl could be to blame.

“When it’s seven times the normal amount of overdoses, it’s ridiculous,” Turner said. “And that’s why we want to go after the people that are providing this."

Officials with Cahoots said they suspect it’s cheaper to produce heroin mixed with fentanyl, which could be why we’re seeing it.

“They’re potentially going to die from a drug that hit the street,” said Ben Adam Climer, a Cahoots crisis counselor and medic. “That puts their lives at risk in a significant way that we don’t see with just heroin use.”

Turner said they often see these issues around homeless camps, but right now, they’re dealing with the issue all across the area.

Responders currently use naloxone, also known as Narcan, to help overdose patients.

County officials said they are also considering using testing strips that could tell responders what opioid a person overdosed on and if it contains fentanyl, which they said is important for everyone. Right now, that’s only being used in Roseburg.

With the spike in overdoses, county officials also said there needs to be greater access for immediate treatment services for those struggling, who are often stuck on waiting lists.

Turner said it’s a big problem, and everyone needs to do their part to keep an eye out for others.

“It can have huge impacts on everyone in the community,” Turner said. “It can affect all of us, and it does.”

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