In observance of the annual International Overdose Awareness Day, Summit County Public Health announced availability of opioid-reversing treatments through its Frisco office. A September 22nd forum on fentanyl was also announced by officials.
SUMMIT COUNTY – In observance of the annual International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) on August 31st, Summit County Public Health announced the availability of opioid-reversing treatments free of charge to the public through its Frisco office. A September 22nd public forum on fentanyl was also announced by Public Health officials.
According to the most current statewide data, in 2021, 1,881 Coloradans died of drug overdoses, the most overdose deaths ever recorded in the state, and a 20% increase from 2020.
International Overdose Awareness Day seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use.
“We honor and remember those lives lost due to the drug overdose epidemic,” said Amy Wineland, Summit County Public Health Director. “It is important to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day to raise awareness about a Public Health crisis killing more than 100,000 people in the US each year,”
The sharp increase in overdose deaths is largely attributed to Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid known to be 50 times more potent than Heroin and 100 times more potent than Morphine. Fentanyl is now found in all illicit drugs sold on the street including heroin, meth, cocaine, as well as in counterfeit pills such as oxycodone, Xanax and Adderall.
In 2021, overdoses involving fentanyl made up nearly 50% (912) of all overdose deaths in Colorado. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of overdose deaths involving fentanyl more than quadrupled, from 222 to 912.
“There is no safe amount of fentanyl—just two-thousandths of a gram can cause immediate death,” said Lauren Gilbert, Nurse Manager. “5 of 6 Summit County overdose deaths in 2021 were related to Fentanyl,” she continued.
In response, the Public Health Department is making Naloxone, a widely-used treatment known to reverse the effects of opioid overdose, available to the public free of charge. Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped due to an opioid overdose, and is safe and easy to administer.
“We want the community to know that we have this life-saving drug available for free to save the lives of individuals that are our friends, family and neighbors, from opioid overdose,” said Wineland.
Any member of the public may pick up Naloxone, at no charge, from Public Health during business hours. 360 Peak One Drive #230, Monday through Friday 8am-5pm.
Community members are encouraged to learn more about opioid use prevention and Naloxone by attending a presentation on September 22nd at Summit High School from 5:30-7:30 pm. The forum is in cooperation with the Summit County Sheriffs office and Summit School District. Dinner will be provided.
Trainings at Summit County Public Health for substance use prevention and Naloxone are available on a monthly basis: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0d44a8aa2da4fbc07-naloxone
More information on substance use prevention and resources in Summit County is available on our website: https://www.summitcountyco.gov/1568/Substance-Use-Prevention