Licking County Health Department issues public health alert after spike in overdoses
NEWARK – A spike in overdose related calls over the weekend has prompted the Licking County Health Department to issue a public health alert.
Spokesperson Olivia Biggs said an increase in 911 calls related to overdoses, emergency room visits and suspected overdose deaths between Friday and Monday prompted the alert.
Biggs said personnel from Licking Memorial Hospital and the Licking County 911 Center each confirmed the increase.
This is the first time the county Health Department has issued a public health alert related to an increase in overdose related calls.
Biggs said the alert is to help let the public know, including friends and family members of drug users — as well as the users themselves — that there may be an increased risk of overdose.
Newark Police Chief Barry Connell also said his department is aware of an increase locally and is working to develop any potential connections between the overdose cases.
There have been 10 overdose deaths confirmed in Licking County as of May 1. Five of those 10 deaths have been contributed, at least in part, to Fentanyl.
The Licking County Health Department encourages those who live with or are around drug users to carry Narcan, which can reverse the effects of an opiate overdose. Narcan can be gotten online through the Health Department’s website or by going to the Health Department.