Shelby County sees spike in opioid overdoses

Overdose spike alert

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Shelby County Health Department has reported 10 fatal overdoses in the last 14 days.

Josh Weil is an overdose prevention specialist with the Memphis Area Prevention Coalition. His group trained local law enforcement how to safely administer Narcan, the drug used to treat overdoses. They also train individuals.

"Any family member that has someone they know they think is in danger, we can train them and provide them with the Narcan," said Weil.

Right now, Shelby County is under an overdose spike alert. Overall, there have been 18 reported overdoses in the last 14 days, 10 of them fatal.

In total, 207 people died from overdoses in Shelby County in 2017 and 213 died in 2018.

Thanks to a state grant, the Memphis Area Prevention Coalition has 400 Narcan doses available for distribution this month. Training takes less than 30 minutes.

With Shelby County in crisis and a new study showing Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident, Weil believes everyone should learn how to use Narcan.

"The point of this is not to keep giving people Narcan over and over again. It's to give people a chance to get into recovery," said Weil.

He said heroin and Fentanyl are the drugs involved in most of the overdoses.

To receive a free Narcan kit and training, call the Memphis Area Prevention Coalition at 850-333-0435.

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