By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,408)
Heroin overdoses have increased dramatically recently in Portland according to a press release issued by the city today. Yesterday, four people in Portland received life-saving emergency medical treatment from the Portland Fire Department for overdoses of heroin. Later, a fifth person was found deceased in an East End apartment and his death is being investigated as a possible drug overdose.
It is believed that addicts are seeking heroin as a replacement for Oxycontin. Testing of recent seizures of the drug does not indicate a high than average potency, suggesting the problem is related to increased use. Heroin is a very addictive and a dangerouos drug.
In the past month, Portland Police and Fire Departments have responded to fourteen reports of overdoses where the patient survived after receiving emergency medical treatament. Tragically, three people died over the same period from what is believed to be accidental drug overdoses. Most of these individuals were using heroin. The Fire Department has had to increase its supply of Naloxone, a narcotic antagonist which can reverse the respiratory depression associated with narcotic overdose, as a result of this disturbing trend. All Fire Department emergency response apparatus are stocked with Naloxne. From January to March of this year, Portland firefighters administered Naloxone eleven times and fourteen times in April.
Individuals using and/or addicted to heroin are encouraged to seek treatment. A number of facilities and resources are available in Portland for people struggling with the disease. People can call the 24-hour statewide Crisis Hotline at 1-888-568-112 for help and access to full treatment services.