Medical leaders voice concerns following overdoses in the east

Medical leaders voice concerns following overdoses in the east
Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 8:51 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Days after a man was arrested in connection to several suspected overdoses medical leaders in the east are voicing their concerns.

It’s an emergency that Dr. Tobi Gilbert has responded to time and time again, and cities across the East are dealing with. “What we’re getting back from toxicology once we get their autopsy back is that it is typically a fentanyl overdose,” Gilbert said. “What we’re seeing is the increase in fentanyl that the nation is seeing and we’re not any different than any other community.”

Last Friday, Jacksonville police arrested 46-year-old Michael Raynor, in connection to three suspected overdoses at The Cardinal Lounge on Gum Branch Road, which is right across the street from Jacksonville High School.

While fentanyl is a problem, President Biden’s administration declared Wednesday that xylazine is an emerging threat. “Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin, 100 times stronger the morphine, and Xylazine beats both of those,” Gilbert said.

According to Substance Abuse Counselor Heather Perkins there’s been 13 overdoses in Jacksonville so far this year. 120 overdoses occurred last year. Perkins says there are preventative measures in place to save lives.

The community paramedics have a dispensing program,” Perkins said. “If someone has a history of overdose they educate the family and provide that Narcan.”

Perkins says the average age of an overdose victim is 35 years old, but younger victims are becoming more common.

“Please speak to your children,” Perkins said. “Fentanyl is extremely dangerous. It’s colorless, odorless, if you walked by, you wouldn’t even know it’s on your hand.”