CLARK COUNTY — The Clark County Health Department has issued a public alert after being notified of 12 overdoses in a roughly 24-hour period.
The alert, issued Tuesday morning on the department’s Facebook page, states that the notifications have come from local and state monitoring systems and pertain specifically to the Clark Memorial Health emergency room.
And though other county metrics, like reports from first responders and use of opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan aren’t up as dramatically as the ER visits, there’s “definitely some trending up activity,” said Clark County Health Director Dr. Eric Yazel.
So are the deaths. As of now, the overdoses deaths reported in the county so far are making 2021 look to be the second highest year for overdose deaths in Clark County since they’ve been recorded. The 51 so far this year are on pace to be 76 by the end of the year, behind 89 in 2016.
And those overdoses could keep going up, Yazel said. Throughout the pandemic, Yazel said the overdoses have tended to rise along with the rise in COVID-19 cases, as there have been interruptions or limitations on addiction treatment services and just the overall “baseline level of stress and anxiety out there in the community,” he said.
“...There’s just not as much peer support out there and groups and things like that are all more challenging,” he said, of the current time. “They’re still happening, but there are still a lot more barriers than normal times.
“I think its multi-factorial and we just have to bolster our programs and continue working and look for unique new ways to do outreach.”
That’s why a $92,000 Indiana Department of Health grant Clark County was awarded Tuesday for continued opioid response is so important, he said. It continues funding first started several years ago, which Clark County has used to fund things like Narcan training, peer recovery and the Pulse Point app that allows people to be alerted and render aid when someone nearby needs CPR, use of an AED or Narcan.
In light of the overdose spike this week, the Clark County Health Department post also urges people who are trained in the administration of Narcan to “please ensure your kit is readily available,” it reads. Community members can get free Narcan training at the Clark County Health Department, along with a one-dose kit. The program takes about 15 minutes and teaches how to spot the signs of overdose and how to administer the life-saving Narcan.
Narcan is also available in the five recently-installed community aid stations at these locations:
• Sheraton Riverside — 700 Riverside Drive, Jeffersonville
• Hawthorne Suites — 703 North Shore Drive, Jeffersonville
• Fairfield Inn — 3000 Gottbrath Parkway, Jeffersonville
• Ramada Inn — 360 Triangle Drive, Sellersburg
• Charlestown Arts and Enrichment Center — 999 Water Street, Charlestown
It is also provided 24/7 via a NaloxBox on the outside of the Sellersburg Fire Station at 426 Utica St.
For more information on Narcan training from the Clark County Health Department, call 812-282-7521.