WINCHESTER — Six opioid overdoses have been reported by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force since Tuesday — one of them fatal, according to a news release from the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition.
No overdoses were reported between Nov. 22 and Dec. 2.
“A spike such as this in overdoses indicates that the heroin being sold and used in the community is highly potent and more likely to cause an overdose,” the release states.
The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition is urging family and friends of people who use opioids to carry naloxone (a medication that reverses the effects of an overdose) and to know the signs of an overdose.
On Tuesday, a female overdosed in Frederick County and died a day later, according to the release. On Wednesday, a non-fatal overdose was reported in Winchester. On Thursday, non-fatal overdoses were reported in Frederick and Clarke counties. On Saturday, two non-fatal overdoses were reported in Frederick County.
So far this year, 27 people in the region (Winchester and Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, Page and Warren counties) have died from fatal overdoses. There have been 137 non-fatal overdoses reported. In 2018, 22 people died and 151 non-fatal overdoses were reported.
Signs of overdose include an unresponsive person with blue or gray fingertips or lips; and slow, shallow or no breathing, often with gurgling or snoring noises, according to the release. Call 911 if you think someone has overdosed.
Free naloxone (Narcan) is available by calling the Winchester/Frederick County Health Department at 540-722-3470 to schedule a time to attend a short training session and to receive the medication.