The numbers have declined but first responders and caregivers continue to see “far too many local overdoses” from opioids along with an increase in the use of methamphetamine, said Thom Grim, executive director of the Miami County Recovery Council.
Miami County in 2017 experienced a record number of overdose deaths with most occurring in the first half of the year. There were 31 confirmed overdose deaths along with two suspected, according to the annual report issued by county Corner Dr. William Ginn. The previous record was 20 deaths in 2016.
The rate of overdoses declined during the year and into early 2018 from an average of nearly 100 per month early on to around 50, Grim said.
Most overdoses are from heroin, fentanyl or a combination. Response teams formed in Troy (the Quick Response Team, or QRT) and in Piqua (HEART) continue to reach out to those who overdose or are high risk, he said.
MCRC is seeing and hearing of more cases of methamphetamine abuse. “Though these do not typically result in an overdose event, it is not a substance anyone is pleased to see being abused,” Grim said, adding law enforcement is seeing more of those people than treatment providers.
MCRC clients often are using methamphetamines to combat withdrawal symptoms of opiates, or as an alternative as they attempt to avoid opiates, Grim said.
While opiates sedate, methamphetamine is an upper that Grim said escalates the person’s psyche unnaturally/dangerously.
In response to the opioid crisis, MCRC in January 2017 opened the Hope House men’s detox facility in Troy. The house by mid-year also was seeing women. An expansion of the women’s program to the second floor of the Hope House is taking place this year.
During the first year, the Hope House admitted 47 males with 27 graduates and 16 females with six graduates.
“We continue to need financial support for this program due to the high cost associated with staffing and operating a 24/7 facility,” Grim said.
He said the “generous support” of many community members and organizations – UVMC Community Benefit Grants, Duke Foundation, The Troy Foundation, Stouder Memorial Foundation and Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services – have helped keep the Hope House open.
For more information on the Hope House and MCRC, visit www.mcrcinc.org.