More than 210 fentanyl deaths so far this year in Jefferson County

Health department now passing out free testing strips
JDHC: Counterfeit pills leading to overdoses in young people
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County health leaders are warning parents against the deadly opioid fentanyl.

So far this year, there have been 212 deaths from fentanyl and leaders with the Health Department said it’s on track to surpass last year’s overdose deaths.

Dr. Darlene Traffanstedt, Medical Director for Jefferson County Department of Health said illicitly manufactured fentanyl is appearing in all forms of drugs in Jefferson County and being accidentally taken by more teens and young people.

“The counterfeit pills have been a problem in other parts of the country, but they are really a problem here right now,” Traffanstedt said. “That is affecting younger individuals than we have traditionally seen.”

She said kids will take a counterfeit pill recreationally, thinking it’s anxiety or ADHD medication, and then accidentally overdose and die.

“There have been a couple of public reports around that here recently in Alabama,” Traffanstedt said. “They think they are taking one thing, but instead it is a counterfeit pill with a dose of Fentanyl, and they are losing their lives over one decision.”

The health department is now giving out fentanyl testing strips for free.

“We have free fentanyl test strips,” she said. “We are including five test strips with each client trainee that we have on our website.”

The department predicts that 2022 will be the highest number of overdose deaths in the county and stress talking with your teenager to warn them.

“We want everyone to be aware and have conversations with their teenagers and college students and families,” Traffanstedt said. “We have all got to try and work together to try and stop what is happening in our community.”

You can also sign up to receive free naloxone medication from the health department. That is the medication that can help when someone overdoses.

Click here to sign up for free testing strips and naloxone medication.

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