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18 drug overdose deaths in February could have been prevented

Contributed By:The 411 News

Coroner Frey issues warning and advice to save lives

February’s drug overdoses in Lake County numbered 18, county coroner Merrilee Frey announced in a press release Friday. Eleven of the deaths were opiod related. Several more deaths that are awaiting toxicology reports could push the overdose number higher.

“Those eighteen deaths in 28 days are absolutely heart wrenching and unavoidable,” Coroner Frey said, "Three drugs are taking the lives of those we love – heroin, fentanyl and cocaine."

Drug overdose is a preventable death, Coroner Frey said and listed four rules to keep opiod users alive.
1. Never use alone;
2. Always carry Narcan;
3. Go slow, even if you have a habit. Fentanyl can not be cut, like heroin because the density will prevent even disbursement; and
4. Since you’re not using alone, wait 30 minutes between use with the other person.

Narcan or naxolone is a proven overdose-reversal drug that was once available only to health and public safety professionals. Now it can be purchased in pharmacies and in some instances is free.

If free narcan is not available near you there is a mailing service that will ship it to you at

"Since never using alone is not always an option there is a 24/7 call center called "NEVER USE ALONE," and toll free at 1-800-484-3731," said Coroner Frey. An operator will stay on the phone with someone while they use and if they become vocally unresponsive, 911 will be called and the person overdosing is legally protected by 911 Good Sam Immunity Laws (if your state has one).

From 2016 to 2017, the state of Indiana had the third highest rate increase of opioid related overdose deaths in the United States. In 2017, Indiana recorded over 1,800 identified overdose deaths. The U.S. reported 17,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017.

"Sadly, our overdose death rate in Lake County is not minimizing. We need to continue prevention efforts with our youth and educate those with an opioid addiction on safe use," Coroner Frey said.

Story Posted:03/01/2020

» Press Release Homepage

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