Kenosha County Medical Examiner Patrice Hall today said her office has responded to three suspected overdose deaths in recent days.
Hall said this is yet another sad reminder of the use of illegal drugs and counterfeit prescription medications, many of which are now being spiked with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.
The three suspected overdose deaths this week all occurred east of Interstate 94, Hall said. It is not yet known whether they involved fentanyl, but Hall said its prevalence continues to be a cause of many deaths locally and nationwide.
“If you’re going to use, make sure to test what you’re going to use, because fentanyl is rampant and is being found mixed with all sorts of other drugs,” Hall said. “It’s not just cocaine that you’re getting; you’re getting cocaine mixed with fentanyl. It’s not just heroin that you’re getting; you’re getting heroin and fentanyl. And it takes just a small amount of fentanyl to kill somebody.”
While abstaining from illegal drug use is the surest way to avoid overdosing, Hall noted that fentanyl test strips are available from Kenosha County Public Health, Vivent Health, and other providers.
Hall said it is important to know that help is available for people with substance use disorder, and that recovery is possible.
“The opioid epidemic is a tragic scourge on our community and the entire country,” Hall said. “Making it ever more sad is that there is a way out for people struggling with substance use. There are resources in Kenosha County and elsewhere that are available and that can save lives.”
Locally, these include:
- Narcan, a life-saving medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, is available at no cost from Kenosha County Public Health. More information about this program is available at kenoshacounty.org/1916/Narcan-Distribution-Program, by calling 262-605-6741, or by sending an email to [email protected].
- Fentanyl test strips are also available from Kenosha County Public Health and are offered to people who receive Narcan. The strips can be used to detect the presence of fentanyl in other substances. Strips may be picked up from 8:30 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the Kenosha County Public Health Job Center Clinic, 8600 Sheridan Road, Kenosha. For more information, call 262-605-6775. They are also available from Vivent Health-Kenosha, which may be reached at 262-657-6644 or online at viventhealth.org/locations/kenosha/.
- The Kenosha County Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Center, which links people with substance use disorder resources, may be reached from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday at 262-764-8555.
- The Kenosha County Crisis Hotline, operated by Kenosha Human Development Services, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, at 262-657-7188.
- More information about other drug prevention and recovery programs and resources is available at kenoshacounty.org/1844/Drug-Prevention-Programs and www.saveliveskenosha.org.