Opioids in peoria a look at the numbers – news – journal star – peoria, il data recovery iphone 4s

As of march 22 of this year, first responders have been called to 48 overdoses within the city of peoria, with 12 of those fatal. An additional four people died outside the city limits, but in peoria county, according to the peoria county coroner’s office.

Despite those alarming numbers, members of the peoria police department, the county’s state’s attorney’s office and others say the coalition has been a force in the battle against opioids.

In peoria, police officers and firefighters respond weekly to suspected heroin overdoses. Peoria county coroner jamie harwood said the problem affects all ages, races, neighborhoods and incomes.

"I would say about half of those people don’t reside in the city.Peoria county A lot of those deaths are occurring where they are purchasing the drugs, but it might not be where they reside," the coroner said, a contention that coincides with what city and law enforcement officials say, that peoria is viewed as a "source city" for street drugs such as heroin.


Peoria interim assistant police chief michael mushinsky said the addiction of heroin is so powerful that people will use it as soon as they obtain it, no matter where they are.

And that doesn’t account for the arrival of fentanyl on peoria’s streets. Fentanyl is a cheaper and more powerful drug than heroin. Police say they can almost pinpoint the day when fentanyl arrived because overdoses and deaths jumped.Human service marion points to june 2017 as the turning point. By then, there were four overdose deaths in peoria. The city finished the year with 32.

“when a new batch of heroin comes in that has a lot of fentanyl, we tend to see a spike in overdoses, and when that is gone, then the numbers go down,” he said, noting the city has seen no overdose deaths since february, a statistic supported by the coroner’s office.

But both harwood and marion say the data can be misleading. City figures show only five deaths, yet the coroner’s office shows 12 deaths within the city. Marion said that could be because some calls come in as a medical issue. The person is taken to the hospital with no physical evidence of a drug overdose, die and then when the toxicology comes back, it’s a drug overdose.Human service

Dave briggs, director of the peoria multi-county narcotics enforcement group, says fentanyl is so much cheaper than heroin that dealers are using it to "cut" or dilute the heroin. It’s 50 to 100 times stronger, he said, so even if it is purchased at the same price, a dealer makes more money off fentanyl because it goes farther. And because it’s stronger, a user is at risk of taking too much and overdosing.

"It sounds crazy, but they are thinking, ‘that caused that person to die. I want to get that high. I don’t want to die, but I want that high,’" briggs said.

It’s so toxic that peoria police officers wear masks and gloves before testing suspected fentanyl.Overdose deaths and it’s so powerful that a typical dose of narcan, which can counteract the effects of heroin and bring a person out of an overdose situation, might not work.

Cocaine and methamphetamine are stimulants that speed the body up. Heroin and other opioids such as morphine and fentanyl are depressants that slow the body down. Take too much and you can stop breathing. Add the fact that this class of drugs is highly addictive, and often drives users to do anything to get their next fix, and you have a public health crisis.

Overdoses and deaths have skyrocketed in the past few years, which prompted concern among area law enforcement officials, social service agencies and others.Human service center enter the community coalition against heroin.

The coalition formed in december 2015 when mayor ardis announced his plan to mimic 2012’s don’t shoot program to combat gun violence. The partnerships that were formed for don’t shoot would combine again to combat the growth of heroin use.

The idea was to educate the community on the perils of opioids, increase rehabilitative measures for users and go after those who sell drugs.

"It helped bring people together and talk about (the opioid problem) from different points of view," said michael kennedy, president of human service center, a member of the coalition.

Several community meetings were held in summer 2016.Peoria county two were at area churches where law enforcement, social service agencies and a recovering addict would talk and then answer questions from the public. There was also a meeting for health care providers and one for school administrators.

Interim police chief marion and state’s attorney jerry brady meet weekly with others solely to discuss heroin. The conversations focus on how many overdoses occurred, where they happened and who was involved. If dealers were involved, discussions focus on making arrests and prosecution.

"We need to hit the first-time user and deter them from using again," brady said. "We are doing a great job on awareness, but we need to do more with deterrence.Human service we (police and prosecutors) need to understand that if a person uses heroin, it’s not the type of drug that you can make the necessary decision not to reuse it. It’s a completely overpowering drug."

During that three-year span, most peoria county overdose victims were white men, with an average age of 36. Ages range from 17 to 90. The oldest person who died as a result of an overdose was 70.

Tazewell county, despite having only three-quarters of peoria county’s population, was also hard hit. In 2017, 26 people died as a result of opioid overdoses. And as of early march 2018, there were four deaths, according to records provided by the tazewell county coroner’s office.Human service center

Experts disagree on what is causing the epidemic. Many have said the over-prescription of painkillers has caused people to get hooked and then turn to street drugs as a way to maintain their high. Others say people try heroin at a party, thinking they can resist or they don’t know the power of the opioid. Either way, it’s fueling an illicit drug market.

"I think most of our overdose deaths are from street drugs. We are not walking into a residence and finding empty bottles of vicodin and oxycontin. We are finding evidence of street drug use on toxicology reports," coroner harwood said.

Education and outreach are working, all parties say.Human service center groups have gone around the community to tell of the horrors of addiction. The coalition has touted the government-produced movie, "chasing the dragon," which illustrates the perils of opioid addiction. The title comes from a quote from an addict who said each time he used, he was trying to reach the peak of his first time. It was like "chasing a dragon." another move by the coalition was to partner with the peoria public library to bring in an author who wrote about how heroin and other drugs were affecting small-town america.

"The main goal of the coalition was to raise awareness, which was desperately needed. Getting into most local high schools and getting the ‘chasing the dragon’ piece out there raised the awareness.Human service if you’ve talked to (state’s attorney jerry brady) and (marion), you know that we’re tracking the location of OD’s," ardis wrote in an email to the journal star. "Our initial efforts to raise awareness through community conversations at the library and in neighborhood associations, bringing author sam quinones ("dreamland") to peoria, and numerous media appearances had a significant impact on raising awareness."

Roberta koscielski, the deputy director of the peoria public library, said the library continues to work to increase awareness about the issue.

"The change I have seen is that our community is learning together about the issue," she said. "People are learning about the scope of the problem, the science behind substance abuse disorder and where to find help.Overdose deaths media coverage about the issue has greatly increased, keeping it on the radar of those who want to learn more."

Chrissy smith, a program manager with the human service center who works on opioid outreach and education, agrees. The HSC has long done outreach, but it’s now in the news, she said.

Partnering with groups such as the jolt foundation, other treatment centers, the coalition and others has helped to get the word out, all say. But that hasn’t helped with the final option: treatment.

"You need to time the person who is willing to seek treatment with the ability of a treatment option. Simply put, you have to have a match available at that exact time for a person who is willing to enter treatment," he said.Peoria county

Treatment is expensive, especially in-patient residential options. Kennedy of the human service center says there is a lack of beds within the community and more would be helpful, but he also notes there are different levels of service.

"There is a need for more ‘treatment-on-demand.’ that’s where I have a symptom of a substance abuse issue and I want treatment today. If it requires them to go into a bed, in-patient care, then that’s limited and, in most cases, our beds are full on a regular basis and we have a waiting list," kennedy said.

"But if a person can benefit from a less intensive level of services, such as going once a week, then we have the capacity for people to go into that level of service.Human service so when we are talking about capacity, there are varying levels," he said.

Going forward, said monica hendrickson, head of the peoria city/county health department, the goal is to keep educating people about opioids and about other health equity issues. To her and many others in the public health field, the notion of health equity — all parties having the same chance of being healthy regardless of where they live — is key to a stable and vital community.

"This is a community response. All the players need to come along and in a singular approach about working together to one goal," she said. "Health equity plays a key role. Is it poverty?Peoria county is it economic development? Access to care? All those are issues that we need to find a way to address."

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