The first call came into the coroner’s office at 12:20 p.m. Jan. 19 in Monroe and the fifth and final call was made at 2:13 p.m. Jan. 20 in Middletown, the coroner’s office said.
Initially, Mannix said after her office received coroner requests “one after another,” she wondered if it was a fluke or if the trend would continue throughout the weekend. She immediately contacted county health and EMS departments and law enforcement agencies.
She wanted them to alert residents about the “flurry” of opiate related deaths, but there were no more suspected opiate deaths in the county the rest of the weekend, Mannix said.
Five overdoses typically occur in one week in Butler County, she said.
For the first seven months last year, there were 113 drug overdoses and 89, or 79 percent, were heroin/fentanyl related, the Butler County Coroner’s Office said. In 2015 in Butler County, there were 189 drug overdoses, and 149, or 79 percent, were heroin related, officials said.
Mannix expects the number of total overdoses for 2016 to be announced soon. Preliminary reports indicate 2016 will break the record for overdoses set in 2015.
“The trend continues,” Mannix said. “These drugs will kill you. … The question is how do we stop the use before it kills you.”
In response to the heroin epidemic throughout the region, community groups have been formed; paramedics are armed with Narcan; pharmacies are selling Narcan; drug rehabilitation centers have opened; and clean needle exchanges have started.
“It’s roulette,” Mannix said of heroin. “You don’t know what you get one dose to the next. The product you use today and what you buy tomorrow is probably not the same thing. It may be less potent or it may be more potent.”