Fourth Overdose Outbreak Death Reported

Another person is dead from the outbreak of drug overdoses in Springfield and Greene County.

The Greene County Medical Examiner’s office reported a woman in her late 40s died Wednesday from a suspected overdose. Her autopsy was completed but the official cause of death is pending toxicology reports.

“We’re seeing an increase this year in deaths from overdoses,” Tom Van De Berg, investigator with the Greene County Medical Examiner’s Office, told OI. “However, despite the current spike, we aren’t seeing a significant rise overall this year in overdoses compared to previous years.”

Van De Berg praised local first responders for their work in saving the lives of those who have overdosed during the recent spike, crediting them with keeping the outbreak from “becoming more severe.”

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott told OI that they believe the recent rash of tainted heroin is coming from local level drug dealers but that the drug itself is coming in from Mexico. The investigation is continuing into the location of the local level dealers.

The DEA is working with local law enforcement to find the dealers.

The city of Springfield released information to the public about the overdoses and included risk reduction methods for those who are addicted to drugs:

During this current overdose situation, it would be safest to avoid drug use entirely. However, for those still struggling with addiction, the Harm Reduction Coalition, a national organization combating the stigma surrounding drug use, offers the following advice:

  • Don’t use drugs alone—have someone there to check on you, or stagger use in case something bad happens
  • Don’t use drugs behind a locked door—leave the door unlocked or slightly ajar so you can be reached
  • Have Narcan on hand with someone who knows how to use it.

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure released a video statement on the outbreak where he praised first responders.

An emergency overdose summit is taking place in Springfield Tuesday, which will include training for the use of Narcan. The event is free to the public.

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