Spike in overdose deaths reported in Bartholomew County

Central Indiana News

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY, Ind.- Authorities in Bartholomew County are seeing a recent spike in overdose deaths.

In the first four months of this year, the Sheriff’s Office and Columbus Police Department have responded to more overdoses and suspected overdoses than the start of 2020.

“The public needs to understand this isn’t going away,” said Chris Lane, chief deputy with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office.

So far in 2021, there have been 13 confirmed or suspected overdose deaths in Bartholomew County.  11 of those deaths have been within the last 2 months.

“That’s obviously a wakeup call. When somebody is out there involved in this activity, they’re really on the doorstep of death potentially,” said Lane.

Investigators say in the past users didn’t know their drug of choice was laced with fentanyl, now that’s what some users are looking to buy on the streets.

“We are talking a whole different level of danger. Fentanyl is several times higher in strength than the opioid and all the other drugs out there,” said Lane.

Deputies have nearly doubled the number of times they’ve administered Narcan compared to last year during the same time frame.

The Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress is focused on getting people the help they need.

“We know COVID caused a lot of increase in overdose death nationwide and here in Bartholomew County. As the world opens back up, I think people are figuring out it’s time to get help,” said Matthew Neville, director of operations for Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress.

Since March 1, the organization has handed out 450 doses of Narcan. “We’ve been doing Narcan drives around the community as well, we’ve had some guys just kind of walking around and handing it out to anyone who might need it,” said Neville.

Advocates and authorities are doing what they can to help stop this deadly trend.

“Recovery is possible and anyone can recover as long as they’re still alive,” said Neville.

Narcan is available for free at the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress Hub at 1531 13th Street in Columbus.

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