The Whitley County Health Department is cautioning residents, who may have illegally acquired Xanax or Percocet, following a spike in overdoses that may be linked to counterfeit pills.
Officials noted that within the last two days, the county has seen six drug overdoses, including two fatalities.
While the details that led to these incidents are unknown, Public Health Director Marcy Rein said the number is a significant increase over typical monthly numbers, and follows a similar pattern seen in at least four other Kentucky counties.
“I have spoken with Whitley County EMS Director Kelly Harrison and based on their reports, we may have six overdoses per month, on average,” Rein said adding that there is currently no system in place to accurately track overdoes in the county or the drugs involved.
“We are working through Whitley County STAR (Standing Together for Appalachian Resilience) to implement a data and evaluation system,” Rein said.
Rein said Bourbon, Franklin, Montgomery and Perry counties have reported similar spikes.
Rein said help is available for anyone seeking drug treatment at a reduced or no cost.
“Operation UNITE is a fantastic source,” Rein said noting the organization can provide vouchers to cover the cost of a treatment or provide contact information for facilities that will work with individuals that may qualify for Medicaid.
“The health department has a harm reduction case manager that can help find open treatment resources and walk people through the process,” Rein said adding that those seeking such help may contact the Whitley County Health Department at 549-3380.