Heroin in Louisville may contain deadly concoction of drugs
After a spike in overdoses, health officials want to remind people about lifesaving naloxone training at the health department this month.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Dozens of overdoses in just days have health experts fearing that the heroin in Louisville may be laced with something potent and deadly.
Health officials want to remind people about life-saving naloxone training at the health department this month.
Amanda Purdy wishes she did not have to be at naloxone training Monday afternoon. It is something she made herself go to.
"It's a life-saver," she said.
She has seen how the overdose reversal drug, naloxone, can save a life. She has seen it save her own.
"Countless rehabs, detoxes. It's not that I don't want to let it go. I don't want to be a 33-year-old mom who doesn't have her kids," she said through tears. "It's not a matter of simply not wanting it."
Back in September, she thought she was taking heroin, but says it was something more powerful that almost killed her.
"It was the elephant tranquilizer that is going around that's responsible for all these overdoses, and my friends had to administer CPR until EMS got there, and then they had to administer the narcan," she said. "I would not be standing here if it weren't for this medicine."
Health officials fear the heroin in Louisville has been laced again.
"The dealers are trying to get the best possible product out on the street," said Russ Read, with the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition. He says fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine, and the elephant tranquilizer carfentanyl is 10,000 times more powerful. He says dealers sometimes add those drugs in with heroin.
"They don't tell anybody that they've mixed it, and people are going into an overdose when they give themselves the normal amount that they give themselves," said Read.
He says toxicology reports on recent suspected overdose deaths should hold the answer as to whether the heroin contains the extra drugs.
A local doctor appeared on CNN over the weekend talking about the alarming number of overdoses in the city. A CNN crew was sent here over the weekend, and was at training Monday to cover the issue. A spokesperson for MetroSafe EMS says in a 32-hour period ending Friday morning, 52 overdose runs were made. However, spokesperson Mitchell Burmeister says it is not clear if all of those runs were heroin related. Burmeister says on Saturday and Sunday, 33 overdose runs were made.
Training at the health department only takes 15 minutes. Participants learn how to administer naloxone, give rescue breaths and also get a free naloxone kit. Read says the kits are available because of donations and grants.
"Our goal is to not only educate and train but get as many of these kits out there to save someone's life," said Read.
At training Monday, 80 naloxone kits were handed out.
The training takes place twice each month. However, because of the recent spike in overdoses, health officials may end up offering more this month.
The next class is Friday, Feb. 24. Those interested can drop in for a 15-minute training session anytime from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.
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