7 PEOPLE OVERDOSE AT 1 HOME: FREE MEDICATION AVAILABLE THROUGHOUT OKLAHOMA
News 9 - November 14, 2023 5:56 am
OKLAHOMA – In light of seven people overdosing at one home in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is reminding residents about how to prevent such incidents from becoming deadly.
Oklahoma City Police said at around 1:31 a.m. Sunday, officers went to a home on Southwest 28th Street, where they found five unconscious people. First responders then administered naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses. Two more people at the scene began showing overdose symptoms as well, prompting them to be treated, police said. EMSA took all seven people to area hospitals, where they were stable at last check. Police told News 9 they believed the people overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl.
“We’re advocating for people, ‘Hey, if you know that you’re experiencing substance use disorder, we want you to be in those groups so people can call for help.’ If you’re using alone, you’re likely to die by overdose. So it’s encouraging to see that people are able to call for help,” said Bonnie Campo, director of public relations at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Drug overdoses are a growing problem in Oklahoma, with 3.547 people dying from ODs in the state between 2017 and 2021, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. During the same period 1,488 deaths were caused by opioids, including fentanyl.
Fentanyl-related deaths have seen a substantial jump in recent years, with 50 fatalities in Oklahoma in 2019, 127 deaths in 2020, and 297 deaths in 2021, the state data showed.
“(Overdose) is the leading cause of death in the United States for those that are 18 to 50 years old,” said Campo.
To help prevent overdose deaths, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has installed 20 vending machines throughout the state that distribute free boxes of naloxone and fentanyl test strips. People only need to type in their zip codes into the machine to receive the medication.
Campo said the most frequently-used vending machine is located at the Embark station in Oklahoma City, which requires restocking almost daily.
“We also mail out hundreds of thousands of boxes of naloxone to Oklahomans starting in 2021,” said Campo.
To request the medication be delivered to your address, visit okimready.org/overdose and fill out the online form