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Opioids 'fastest-growing' abused substance in county


Heroin and "Other Opiates and Synthetics" comprised 60 confirmed cases, or 20 percent, of abused substances for the first quarter of 2017 in Garland County.


By Max Bryan
The Sentinel-Record

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first installment of a multipart series on opioids, considered to be the fastest-growing abused substance in Garland County by local health officials.

Local drug rehabilitation professionals and emergency medical personnel say they have seen consistent -- if not increasing -- opioid abuse in Garland County.

In late October, President Trump directed the Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency nationwide.

In 2015, the latest year for available data, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated around 40,000 U.S. deaths were due to either common prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl, or a combination of both. The total number of deaths from the drugs, which has risen consistently, was fewer than 10,000 in 2000.

In 2015, Garland County trailed only Clay County in deaths per 100,000 people due to opioid abuse. CDC cited a rate of 27 deaths per 100,000 people for Garland County that year.

Heroin and "Other Opiates and Synthetics" comprised 60 confirmed cases, or 20 percent, of abused substances for the first quarter of 2017 in Garland County, according to the Alcohol Drug Management Information System. LifeNet Hot Springs General Manager Jason Gartner estimates his medical personnel respond to 35 to 50 opioid abuse cases per month. Read more.

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