Health Commissioner Says Hospitals Should Brace For Another Overdose Surge

Sep 2, 2016

Credit TAMIKA MOORE / AL.COM/LANDOV

Kentucky’s commissioner of public health is warning medical providers and community leaders across the state to be prepared for another possible surge in heroin overdoses this holiday weekend.

Dr. Hiram  Polk says officials expect a rise in recreational drug use, and a new, more toxic supply of heroin laced with Fentanyl and other substances is on the streets. 

“We think this may be a real problem this weekend. We’ve encouraged everbody—hospitals, ERs, groups, EMTS, everybody—to do several things. Staff up for more workload in your ER and your ICUs this weekend,” says Polk.

 
Polk says providers should also have extra supplies of naloxone on hand, as it can take as much as three times the amount of the drug to reverse the effects of an overdose from the more potent heroin. He’s also calling on hospitals to have access to counselors to help overdose patients who want to go into long-term drug treatment. On one night in Louisville this week, more than two dozen people were treated for overdoses. One of them was fatal.