DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The Vermilion County Coroner says a national trend is being seen in central Illinois. Fentanyl overdoses are on the rise.
“We’re just finding new stuff every day and it’s just fentanyl derivatives. Somebody has made something in a lab and it’s gotten mixed in with the actual drugs… The street drugs,” said Jane Mcfadden.
Last year, Mcfadden saw 28 overdoses. All but seven were fentanyl-related. Usually, drugs like cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine are laced with fentanyl or worse. Fentanyl is made to look like them.
She says what has shocked her are the victims’ ages. Most have been 40 and above. Some of them even went to rehab for drug use, but that isn’t always enough.
“I think just pushing a lot of information out to people so people are aware and then maybe they’ll be able to make better choices based on the information we give them,” said McFadden.
She says people go to rehab, get clean, go back into the real world, and often fall off the wagon. But when they do, their drug of choice isn’t what they think it is or they can’t handle the amount.
One preventative measure given to users or people prescribed opioids is Narcan. But McFadden says Narcan shouldn’t be used as a failsafe.
“It’s kind of like CPR. Teaching people how to do CPR is great, but you also have to tell them that sometimes it doesn’t work,” said McFadden, “It’s great to do this preventative stuff, which is great, and we need to keep doing that. But at this point, we probably need the backend.”
She says the backend means more resources for people who are caught up in active addiction.
“Everybody hits that wall at some point, and they know they need help,” said McFadden. “So, let’s just make sure we have that help available at the time they were able to seek help that would be great. I think we would be much more successful.”