WHITLEY COUNTY — The Whitley County Health Department reported on Friday that there has been six overdoses, including two fatalities in the county in the last two days.
Whitley County Public Health Director Marcy Rein said she received the report of the overdoses from EMS Director Kelly Harrison. Rein said these types of reports are given when there appears to be an issue.
“The EMS director was concerned and contacted me,” said Rein.
The Whitley County Health Department said in a Facebook post that they do not know the details of the deaths in the county, but "are aware that other areas in Kentucky have experienced a recent increase in overdoses related to a potential bad batch of pressed pills meant to look like Xanax or Percocet."
Rein told The Times-Tribune that an increase of overdoses had occurred in Frankfort over the last two weeks. Bourbon County and Montgomery County have also seen an increase in overdoses, she said. On May 9, Perry County reported four overdoses in 36 hours.
Rein said she can’t say for sure that these are directly related, but wanted to make the public aware that the potential relationship was there between the bad batch and the recent overdoses in the county.
“We are also aware that in general relapses and overdoes have increased in some pockets in the country subsequent to COVID and there’s speculation potentially that if someone was in recovery and lost their job they may be experiencing a relapse,” added Rein. “There's other factors that play into that.”
There are all sorts of risk factors that might come into play, however Rein said it seemed coincidental to her that she was getting these reports and she wanted to emphasize it could potentially be related to the bad batch.
As part of a recent grant that the Whitley County Health Department received its the department's goal to have a more formalized process where it can get more real time information about overdoses and in the future the department will implement quick response and other review teams in cases like this.
These systems are not yet in place, however they are already utilizing an informal system as part of the opioid crisis response plan.