Sheriff expecting a spike of overdose calls during the holiday season

Overdoses already claimed 147+ lives in Genesee County this year
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 6:12 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said his office is working every day to track down suppliers.

But Swanson still is expecting a spike in overdose calls during the holidays.

Looking at the number of drug overdoses so far this year, he said the Flint community is hitting its fifth peak as Thanksgiving arrives. Already, 147 people have died of overdoses since Jan. 1 and over half of them are 45 and older.

“When you compare the numbers of opiate deaths and opiate saves from Narcan from last year, we’ve made no progress,” Swanson said. “So in light of another full year of educating and awareness and Narcan and jumping out there soon enough, we are not making the dent we need to.”

He is encouraging anyone with a family member struggling with addiction not to let their loved one become a statistic and to purchase the opioid reversal drug Narcan to be safe. He said a simple puff of the drug has saved nearly 900 people around Genesee County since Jan. 1.

Swanson is expecting that number to rise as it typically does this time of year.

“Had Narcan not been there, we’d have over 1,000 people dead from overdoses,” he said. “And, that’s my concern is, during this holiday season Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, you have people that, you know, they’re not with their families, maybe they have extra money and those demons start talking.”

Swanson is asking friends and family to check on people who may be alone by setting up a video chat.

“We need to make sure we are into other people’s business you’re wishing them well,” he said. “You’re asking them and if you feel as though they’re falling off the wayward side, then make those phone calls so you don’t ever have to live with the guilt that you’ve missed a sign.”

The following resources are available for anyone who needs help battling a drug addiction:

Families Against Narcotics.

Michigan Opioid Help.

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