The District Attorney has issued a public health alert in response to over 100 reported overdoses that required medical attention during the weekend of Sept. 11 in Berks, with one overdose resulting in death so far. Preliminary toxicology from these cases indicated heroin, fentanyl, and xylazine. According to the DEA, Xylazine is a drug used in veterinary medicine as a sedative with analgesic and muscle relaxant properties.
If someone is experiencing an overdose, it is crucial to get medical attention as soon as possible. Through the Pennsylvania ‘Good Samaritan’ provision of Act 139, friends, loved ones, and bystanders are encouraged to call 911 for emergency medical services in the event an overdose is witnessed and to stay with the individual until help arrives. The provision offers certain criminal and civil protections to the caller so that they cannot get in trouble for being present, witnessing, and reporting an overdose.
Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal medication, is also available at no cost to Berks County residents. This medication can be of assistance when an individual is overdosing from substances such as heroin or fentanyl. Because of the nature of these strong substances, and what may be mixed with them, witnesses must call 911 even if Narcan is used.
Stanley J. Papademetriou, COCA Executive Director, implores individuals and family members of those using opioids to obtain a Narcan kit. “Our community must use every available resource to address this ongoing and menacing overdose crisis. Free Narcan kits and access to appropriate addiction treatment are two such resources readily available here in Berks County.”
When it comes to addiction, every second counts. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is help. Treatment and support services are available for Berks County residents and can be accessed 24/7 at 484-628-HOPE (4673).
For more information about obtaining Narcan and for continued updates, please visit see the links below or call (610) 376-8669.