New Haven health officials say there were 21 overdoses in New Haven County on Friday, with 12 specifically in the city.
The overdoses are believed to likely be from heroin laced with fentanyl. Although, officials say they are looking into the possibility of it being something else as they noticed some victims used nasal inhalation to ingest the drugs.
All overdose incidents were successfully reversed using Narcan, preventing any deaths.
“We’ve been monitoring the spike and are thankful that there are no fatalities,” said Maritza Bond, director of health for the city of New Haven.
All cases were reported in a 24-hour span from midnight to 11:59 p.m. Friday. According to Director of Emergency Services Rick Fontana, the driver of a truck which crashed Friday morning was among those who overdosed.
This spike comes nearly two years after a massive overdose incident in August 2018, where 116 overdoses occurred within a 36-hour period in New Haven. Many of those occurred on the New Haven Green.
Following the 2018 occuerence, New Haven assembled a task force to address drug dependence and also began using technology to track overdoses. That technology, OD Maps, helped identify Friday’s spike.
Information from that technology is sent directly to first responders' portable devices, allowing them to be proactive and prepared. Officials say this technology allows them to track the path with which drugs enter the state.
“We are all activated into the system,” said Bond. “It automatically sends us an alert so we can be able to monitor it closely.”
Mayor Justin Elicker issued a statement in response to the surge.
“The increase in overdoses is deeply concerning, and we are tracking it closely,” said Elicker. “Substance use disorder is impacting many in our community. Please look out for each other and seek support if you need it."
The city also recommended those who are addicted not to use drugs alone and not to share needles. Have the opioid reversal drug, Narcan, available and seek treatment.
“This is something where we want to provide support as a city,” said Bond. “There is no judgment here so if you want to seek help, we’re at your service.”
Reviewing the most recent data, city officials say there has been only one overdose transport since 12 a.m. Saturday.