TUSCOLA COUNTY (WJRT) - (04/20/17) - Four overdoses, one death. Those are the startling numbers coming out of a small part of Tuscola County in the past 24 hours.
While police investigate the death, an overdose antidote is being offered in the county to anyone wanting one.
We've been hearing about the heroin and opioid addiction problem in Mid-Michigan for some time now, but what happened in Tuscola County over the past 24 hours is truly alarming.
“A 26-year-old female was deceased and it looks like an overdose-related death,” said undersheriff Bob Baxter.
Several hours after the woman died, police were still at the home conducting interviews.
Police were also at homes in nearby Cass City and Millington, where they suspect three other people overdosed, possibly on heroin. The three people survived.
Baxter says there has been an uptick in heroin cases in the county, but this was unusual.
“Most of our incidents are isolated and to get that amount around the same time, on the same day, is rather unique,” he said.
For the past six months, Tuscola Behavioral Health Systems has been offering Narcan, also known as naloxone, the overdose antidote for free to anyone who visits their office on Prospect Avenue in Caro.
“Heroin or misuse of prescription drugs has become an issue in our communities,” said Susan Holder, of Tuscola Behavioral Health Systems.
Tina Gomez says a handful of the Narcan kits have been handed out, but is not sure if any of the kits have been used by those individuals. She gives instructions on how to use the nasal spray.
“We give to anybody from the general public that is 18 years or older,” she said. “There are no questions asked as to why the are asking for the kit, or how they anticipate how it will be used.”
Holder says they have about 50 of these kits on hand now.
“It does potentially save a life, it is not a replacement for seeking medical attention,” Holder said.
Police are not sure if these overdoses were caused by a deadly batch of heroin going around, or an indication the heroin and opioid addiction crisis is getting worse.
“The thing with heroin is it is so addictive and once you are on it, it’s hard to overcome,” Baxter said.