Fatal drug overdoses in Bartholomew County have declined so far this year compared to 2020, when overdose deaths reached their highest level since at least 2015.
While he’s reluctant to take any credit for expanding local drug treatment services, outgoing Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress Executive Director Doug Leonard deserves it.
In 2019, Leonard — two years after retiring from the state hospital association — agreed to take the reins at ASAP, which is a community-wide response to address substance use disorder in Bartholomew County.
Little did Leonard know that during his time at ASAP, the complex challenge of combating the local drug epidemic would be compounded by a worldwide pandemic.
“We don’t seek, nor do we take credit for anything we do,” Leonard said. “Our role is to help the system grow and thrive, and our eyes were wide open to partner with anyone (to provide substance abuse treatment).”
The rate of drug overdoses in the U.S. accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening an existing public health crisis, and the numbers are staggering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that more than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020, the most ever in a single year, and up nearly 30% from the 72,000 deaths in 2019.
The change in leadership comes as ASAP officials and others are looking at how they can continue to bolster the community-wide response to substance use disorder amid a worsening drug overdose crisis that experts believe has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
An opioid overdose requires immediate medical attention as it can be fatal. Anyone experiencing or witnessing an overdose should call 911 immediately.
The Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress has named Sherri Jewett, a current regional health care leader, as its new executive director.
People who have experienced childhood trauma get a more pleasurable “high” from morphine, new research suggests.
University of Exeter scientists compared the effects of morphine on 52 healthy people – 27 with a history of childhood abuse and neglect, and 25 who reported no such experiences in childhood.
Those with childhood trauma liked morphine (an opioid drug) more, felt more euphoric and had a stronger desire for another dose.
Those with no childhood trauma were more likely to dislike the effects and feel dizzy or nauseous.
Parents, caregivers, schools and communities need to keep up the work of educating and supporting our youth to prevent drug and alcohol use. Our youth have experienced major life transitions at the beginning of the pandemic and will face more transitions as the pandemic slows.
We need to listen to what our youth are saying. We need to pay attention to their actions, find help for them when needed and continue to educate them on the risks on drug and alcohol use.
Fentanyl isn’t a new drug, but there’s ample evidence that suggests illegal use is near, or at, an all-time high in Bartholomew County.
The synthetic opioid is usually prescribed in the form of patches or lozenges that are 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. In recent years, it has become increasingly popular on streets across the U.S. due to its heroin-like effects.