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Health, Science & Environment

Licking County reports spike in non-fatal overdoses

Naloxone is an antidote that can help reverse drug overdoses.
John Minchillo
Associated Press

Licking County health officials are warning about a spike in non-fatal drug overdoses, after the county recorded three uses of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone in a 24-hour period.

"We have some monitoring systems in place to monitor for overdoses, and they exceeded the threshold," Licking County Health Commissioner Chad Brown said.

The Licking County Health Department also consulted with county fire and EMS departments to confirm the cases were an actual spike. "[I] spoke to Newark Fire this morning, and they concurred that we should go and get an alert out," Brown said.

Brown said the drugs which caused the overdoses were not reported, and whether the incidents are related is unclear.

Licking County recorded a total of 47 overdose deaths in 2021, and, unfortunately, the county is on pace to break that record this year, Brown said.

"I don't think we're alone in Licking County. This is an issue that's, you know, across the country. We're just tracking it and, you know, our goal is to collect data, identify the problem, and then, you know, hopefully implement solutions to reduce the number of overdoses," he said.

The Licking County Health Department's Drug Overdose Prevention Coalition also released the following recommendations for residents affected by substance use disorders and their family and friends, to reduce harm and death.

  • Have naloxone (Narcan®) on hand. Naloxone (Narcan®) is a drug which reverses the effects of opiates during a drug overdose.
  • Do not use drugs when alone.
  • Be aware of the dangers of mixing drugs.
  • Be aware that stimulants do not prevent an opiate overdose.

Licking County residents can click here to request a free naloxone kit from the health department.

Health, Science & Environment
Matthew Rand is the Morning Edition host for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides daily talk show.