The coronavirus pandemic has put many lives on hold for more than a year, but the Butler County Health Commissioner said she sees a silver lining that could save people from another crisis – the latter involving a drug overdose and intervention.
In 2020, the Ohio emergency department recorded more than 32,000 overdoses. Butler County statistics show there have been 177 deaths and, according to the coroner’s office, the county is set to exceed that number in 2021.
In the past 30 days, Butler County has only had one day without an overdose.
“Now I’m starting to be able to think outside of COVID, we’re really stepping up our efforts to reduce overdoses,” Butler County Health Commissioner Jenny Bailer said.
She said local agencies weren’t planning to use the same old attack on drug addiction.
âI have most of the major agency heads in my cell phone,â Bailer said. âI have their contacts there. I might not have known them before that, but I know them now and they know me. They can call me anytime, day or night, and I’m glad they do – and we’ll take advantage of that.
The Hamilton County Drug Addiction Coalition, made up of 40 state, local and federal agencies, was launched six years ago when Cincinnati experienced its first wave of fentanyl deaths in 2016. The links between police, firefighters, public health and others have helped put NARCAN on the streets within a week and save lives.
While Butler County does not form an official coalition, Bailer expects the partnerships that brought the vaccine to fairgrounds, drive-ins, pop-up bus clinics and more – to remain a team able to plan, predict and respond better to substance abuse and social problems. contributing to overdoses.
âSo these relationships are not lost and I hope they don’t end,â Bailer said. “We will continue to work on things for the citizens of Butler County.”
She also said that local hospitals that have been forced to share supplies during the pandemic have formed relationships that can be redirected toward drug addiction and overdose issues.