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Drug Overdose Cases Spike In Louisville

Feb 13, 2017 02:47 AM EST

Deadly drug overdose cases have recently spiked in Louisville. Authorities believe the main culprit is heroin, but a suspected drug dealer notified the police that the heroin was mixed with fentanyl, a potent and lethal drug. Louisville Metro Emergency Services received 52 calls about overdoses between Wednesday and Friday, said agency spokesman Mitchell Burmeister.

The number of calls has increased since last week where 25 overdose calls were received in the same 32-hour time frame. Burmeister said that a breakdown of overdose causes was not available, but most of those calls were heroin overdoses. Other causes of overdoses were from alcohol, prescription medications, and other controlled substances.

Burmeister said no deaths were recorded in the drug overdose cases except for one person who had been using heroin died while riding in a car that crashed. Police authorities are not sure what other drug could be responsible for the spike of overdose calls but the information given by the drug dealer about possible fentanyl combination sheds light into the popularity of the drug. Fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller, is being blamed for causing nearly 43 percent of Jefferson county’s 325 fatal overdoses last year, which means that more people died due to drug abuse than due to homicides, the Pulse Headlines reports.

Fentanyl is commonly used as a painkiller for advanced-stage cancer patients, and people undergoing amputees given its potency. It is 50 times as potent as heroin. Given the fact that fentanyl is cheaper and up to 50 times more potent than heroin, manufacturers are adding fentanyl to their drugs, the Q13 Fox reports.

The drug can cause just from breathing in or having their skin exposed to a very small amount of fentanyl powder. Dr. Robert Couch, an emergency medical director in Louisville, says many more overdoses are being treated and require larger amounts of naloxone for treatment of the overdose. The emergency room is seeing more repeat drug overdose cases who must be admitted to the hospital, rather than treated and released, he says.

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