YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Tracy Styka, a community health education specialist with Mahoning County Public Health, says they are seeing fentanyl in roughly 80 – 90% of the overdose deaths in Mahoning County and in the state. She says they are finding fentanyl in drugs people use recreationally.
“We are finding it in cocaine, we are finding it in marijuana,” Styka said.
Shawna-Cie Ott, YPD officer and community police officer for the 6th ward in Youngstown, said the situation is scary.
“You don’t know what you’re getting. You think you’re getting marijuana and that’s a lot of the issue, they are lacing marijuana with fentanyl and other drugs as well,” he said.
A town hall was held in Youngtown Monday by the Youngstown Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program discussing recent overdose rates. Between November 2020 and October 2021, Youngstown police have responded to 481 calls for overdoses.
“They’re every day calls, they’re four and five times a day calls,” Ott said. “A lot of our fights are over drugs, a lot of domestics are over drugs, a lot of our homeless situations, a lot of our mental situations, all of it kind of circulates around the drug usage,” Ott said.
Out of the 481 overdose calls in Youngstown, 214 of them were during the “B-turn” police shift, which is during the afternoon/evening. The majority of the overdose calls came from parts of the south side, although each side of town had overdoses at different points.
In the entire state of Ohio, fentanyl and carfentanil accounted for nearly 76% of overdose deaths in 2019, often combined with other drugs. In 2020, the percentage is projected to be around 81%.
Styka says the number is continuously on the rise.
“In 2021, we’ve had a number of overdose deaths. If that continues, we’re gonna see more than we saw in 2020 and 2019,” she said.
In many cases, having a Narcan kit on hand has saved the lives of people overdosing. The Project Dawn Program provides Narcan kits to community members. Kits were passed out at the meeting Monday.
Anyone who would like a kit can go online to www.mahoninghealth.org and click on the Project Dawn page and request one.
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