Jefferson County working to pass out testing strips amid Fentanyl crisis

JCDH taking steps to reverse increasing Fentanyl deaths
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 9:08 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 10:40 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Fentanyl overdoses and deaths are at a high nationwide and locally.

More than 300 people died from a Fentanyl overdose last year in Jefferson County. That’s a 66 percent increase from 2020 to 2021, and officials at the Jefferson County Health Department said this year is on track to be the same or more.

“It’s just a tremendous problem,” Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said.

Wilson said the department is looking at Fentanyl data and working to track where the drug is being sold the most.

“We are getting more data now on ambulance runs for overdoses,” Wilson said. “But, we are tracking that more and more so that we can identify hotspots.”

Wilson said they would then dispatch more Naloxone, the antidote for overdoses, to that hot spot area.

“We are starting to see more Fentanyl laced into other drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and in a few cases, fake pills.”

Recent changes in state law now allows the health department to pass out Fentanyl testing strips and Wilson said Jefferson County is already ordering them.

“We will be distributing them just like Naloxone kits,” he said. “We are in the process of producing a training video for that first. People need to make sure Fentanyl is not in there, because it could easily kill them.”

Wilson said Fentanyl deaths are the majority overdose deaths in the county, usually from unsuspecting people.

Wilson said you can order one of the county’s drug rescue kits online. Click here.

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