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St. Elizabeth Experiences Spike In Heroin Overdoses In 2016

Posted On January 11, 2017

By Travis Thayer

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(Northern Kentucky) – Heroin overdoses continued to be a problem in northern Kentucky this past year.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that St. Elizabeth Healthcare’s five emergency departments reversed 1,584 heroin overdoses in 2016, up 36 percent from 1,168 cases the previous year.

However, the hospital only counts the overdose turnarounds for patients who acknowledge they used heroin, meaning the number could be a lot higher.

St. Elizabeth saw the most overdose victims during the month of August, September and October, when heroin batches laced with surgical anesthetics and animal tranquilizers were found in the area. Almost 30 overdoses were reported by Cincinnati Police on a single day.

During the three-month spike, St. Elizabeth turned around 691 overdoses, which was the highest total the hospital has ever seen over a three-month period.

The healthcare system’s five emergency departments also had an additional 1,031 visits from patients who have an opiate addiction for issues such as, withdrawal, abscesses from contaminated needles, suicidal thoughts and requests for addiction treatment.

St. Elizabeth continues to refer surviving overdose patients to addiction-treatment resources such as the Addiction Services Council’s Northern Kentucky heroin hotline number, in addition to offering treatment assistance if its requested.

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