Fatal overdoses skyrocket in Alabama

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 10:26 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - In the midst of a nationwide opioid crisis, Alabama saw a 33 percent increase in deaths from drug overdoses over the last year.

According to Don Webster with HEMSI, last year Madison County had 763 overdoses. A little over halfway into 2021, there have already been 502 overdoses.

“We have seen a 23 percent increase over from last year. Now, why is that? I don’t know,” says Webster.

Marketing Director for the Recovery Organization of Support Specialists, Mark Litvine, who has struggled with substance abuse in the past, says this is all due to the pandemic.

“The helpline is receiving more calls than it has ever before. We are in a major substance use epidemic right now. The opioids, whatever it may be, the problem is when COVID hit people isolated and self-medicated,” says Litvine.

R.O.S.S has a 24/7 hotline that those struggling with substance abuse can call to receive help. The hotline receives 800 to 1,000 calls a month. The number to call is 1-844-307-1760.

Wendy Reeves, Executive Director of Partnership for a Drug-Free Community, says it’s important for those who are struggling to get connected to the resources they didn’t know were there. She says her organization provides hope.

“There are all kinds of difficulties whether it be insurance or any number of obstacles that are there. So what we did, we put together this resource hub and we take all of that away.

Reeves says she hopes people recognize the problem in our community.

“I hope people are paying attention. Support programs like ours because we need it. We are small. We provide these services to help people get to a better life,” says Reeves.

Madison County is averaging 77 overdoses per month. The number of overdoses this year is only 200 away from topping last year’s numbers.

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