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18 documented overdoses in Escambia County in 2017

Eighteen.

That’s the number of documented overdoses in Escambia County from January 2017- September 2017, the most recent figures available, according to ESCO Chief Deputy Mike Lambert.

Drug overdoses across America is growing at a rapid rate.

Nationally, there were some 64,000 drug overdoses in 2016.

Most of those drug overdoses were from opioids, which includes heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone.

In Alabama, 760 people died from drug overdoses in Alabama in 2017.

Alabama also leads the country in opioid prescriptions with 142.9 per 100 people.

“We lead the nation in prescription painkillers given to patients by doctors,” he said.

Doctors at home aren’t the only way people are getting ahold of opioids.

Lambert said that the choice for online deliveries is the USPS. He said that the biggest place to order drugs over the phone from Mexico and Canada.

“The reason they like the USPS is because the tracking system is antiquated,” he said. “Border patrol is about 2,000 short and the checking is minimal.”

Lambert spoke about the opioid problem in the county.

He spoke about dealers lacing it with different substances from laundry detergent to rat poison.

“There’s no telling what you are ingesting,” he said.

Lambert said they’ve seen an increase in heroin use in Escambia County, specifically in the west end of the county.

Lambert said that one of the problems with opioid abuse is that when Oxycontin was first placed on the market it was classified as minimally addictive, which is not true.

Lambert said there are a lot of suicides in Escambia County.

“We see a lot of that,” he said.

Lambert said the growing number has led to them implementing a new program in which they have acquired 150 doses with two doses a pack of the Narcan nasal spray.

Narcan is a safe and effective medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose

Lambert said the project is joint among the sheriff’s department, drug court’s Denis Carlee and Circuit Judge Bradley Bryne.

The funding for the project, which costs $7,800, is coming from drug court, the sheriff’s office and contributions, Lambert said.