Vermont Town Sees Eleven Overdoses in Less than 12 Hours

Vermont mass overdose

Mass overdoses, here we go again. It’s all too often that I read headlines of multiple overdoses here, bad dope over there, and more overdoses in a single hour than a town has seen in an entire month.

The problem isn’t getting better and recently, one of Vermont’s major cities has seen its rash of OD’s.

Last Thursday, in Burlington, Vermont, there were eleven overdoses and one death in less than twelve hours according to the Vermont Department of Health.

Local physicians became immediately alarmed by the possibility of the presence of fentanyl or carfentanyl. Doctors have also strongly recommended that opioid addicts carry Narcan with them if they are using in case they overdo it. Mark Levine of the Vermont Department of Health said, “We have reports about what the substance was that was overdosed on. Many reported white powder, at least one reported a black powder.

Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug, is instrumental in situations like this where an unknown synthetic, ultra-strong opioid is making its way around local drug supplies and it’s not just in heroin. Fentanyl and its analogs have been found in everything from heroin to cocaine, to methamphetamine, and even in marijuana. Yes, marijuana.

It’s been heard that some of the “genius” chemists in China have actually synthesized a fentanyl analog that can withstand being burnt, but this still remains unsubstantiated. Either way, it’s a scary situation for anyone out there who’s using drugs and getting high as a way of solving their life problems.

Dr. Stephen Leffler of Burlington, VT said, “Narcan is available at your doctor’s office or the emergency department, where you can get treatment. The needle exchange program in Burlington does have test strips available so you can test your drugs you got off the street to see if it has fentanyl in it.

Mass overdoses on the rise in New England

These fentanyl test strips have been all the rage lately, but I honestly don’t know a single addict who’s going to test their heroin and once it shows positive for fentanyl, throw it away or not use it. Quite the contrary, many addicts prefer fentanyl to be in their heroin (as crazy as that sounds) because they know it’ll be stronger and give them more “bang for their buck,“ so to speak. And also, it’s not like an addict is going to bring the heroin back to their dealer and demand a refund if it tests positive for fentanyl. I just don’t see these strips as being any kind of solution for anything other than plainly knowing if you’re getting fentanyl.

Either way, the problem out there isn’t getting better and, yet again, we have another instance of mass overdoses with no end to this crisis in sight. All we can do is educate, rehabilitate, and everyone should carry Narcan with them in case of an overdose. Other than that, I’m out of solutions for now.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself he brings real-word experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.