The opioid crisis may not be making big headlines at the moment, but it’s still a deadly problem.
That is why JET 24 is airing a special on the opioid epidemic at 7 p.m.
We spoke to those who are still fighting the fight to learn about the status of the opioid epidemic and how to find treatment.
The opioid crisis is still an issue for many people. Over the past several years fentanyl has become the center of the conversation.
In 2021, four out of five overdose deaths in Erie could be attributed to fentanyl, a drug 80 times more powerful than morphine according to the DEA.
The opioid epidemic has shaken communities since the prescribing of opioids in the 90’s and has evolved over the years.
Medical fentanyl and prescription abuse is not the only concern anymore, but rather homemade fentanyl is also worrisome.
It can be much more powerful and is made off of the records, which is difficult to manage.
“They use the opioids as a delivery system. What we’ve noticed over the last year and a half is that heroin has just about disappeared. We’re seeing cocaine and methamphetamines as the delivery system. So we’re seeing increased numbers of that,” said Lyell Cook, Erie County Coroner.
Toxicology reports following an overdose take nearly a month and a half to process which makes numbers lag considerably.
Treatments are available for those suffering from addiction, some of which are medically assisted ways to help a recovering person’s cravings.
An addiction expert at the New Directions Health Care Facility shared with us that there are many things that go into treating an opioid addiction.
“We’re seeing an increase in homelessness and also mental health needs. Patients need to get to their mental health provider. Mental health and opioid use disorder go hand in hand if you don’t treat one and treat them both,” said Kara Bennett, Clinical Director of New Directions.
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The Erie County Coroner told us that the number of overdoses are down compared to last year, but he’s concerned that it will not remain that way.