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Drug-Related Overdose Deaths on the Rise in York County, Fentanyl Found to Play Major Role in 2023 Figures

2023 Overdose Deaths Rise in York County

In a tragic turn of events, health authorities in York County report a significant increase in drug related overdose deaths in 2023. The news comes as a harsh reminder of the devastating effects that drug misuse and addiction can have on individuals and communities.

Increased Overdose Deaths

In a public statement, Sabrina Gast, the York County Coroner, disclosed that preliminary figures for 2023 reveal a total of 118 overdose deaths. Ominously, many of these deaths were linked to the potent narcotic Fentanyl. In comparison, 2022 saw a slightly lower figure of 111 overdose deaths. Authorities warn that this increasing trend is troubling, highlighting the urgent need to address the ongoing drug crisis.

The Dangerous Role of Fentanyl

Fentanyl, an opioid significantly more potent than morphine, has emerged as a primary cause of overdose deaths. The drug is often mixed with other substances, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, increasing the risk for users. The role of Fentanyl in recent drug-related deaths has underscored the critical need to educate the public about the dangers posed by this dangerous synthetic opioid.

Protective Measures During the Holiday Season

Gast has also issued a stark reminder to families that the festive season can be a vulnerable time for those battling against drug abuse. With families coming together, the risk of access to prescription medications increases. To safeguard against this, she advises households to store prescription medicines safely and out of reach of visiting relatives who may be looking for drugs.

Moreover, she recommends disposing of unused medication correctly. Health departments provide drop boxes free of charge where individuals can safely dispose of unused drugs, all with no questions asked. This preventive step can greatly reduce the potential exposure and misuse of unused medication.

Preventing Drug Overdoses

York County health officials hope to carry forward their efforts into the new year, focusing on educating communities about drug trends in their neighbourhoods. To counter the growing risk, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) underlines the availability of Overdose Safety Kits at health departments.

Overdose Safety Kits

The Overdose Safety Kits include two doses of naloxone, an opioid-antidote medication, five fentanyl test strips, and educational materials on both. The kits equip individuals with the necessary tools to reverse the impacts of an opioid overdose and identify the stealthy presence of fentanyl in other drugs. DHEC is hopeful that these kits will help prevent avoidable deaths and encourage struggling South Carolinians to seek help.

The department can currently provide two OD Safety Kits per person while supplies last. Its mission aligns with the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, who manage a statewide network of Naloxone Community Distributors providing free doses of naloxone, fentanyl test strips and educational materials. Sarcastically, these community distributors and treatment services are a critical safety net for those impacted by drug abuse and addiction.

Seeking Help

In conclusion, the announcement of increased overdose deaths in York County is a sobering statistic. However, vital resources, ranging from OD Safety Kits to educational materials and treatment services, aim to turn the tide against the opioid crisis. For those struggling with addiction or substance misuse, immediate help is available, and recovery is possible.


HERE Rock Hill
Author: HERE Rock Hill

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