A new Montgomery County system will alert people when there is a surge of drug overdoses occurring in the community.
The OD Surge Alert system is set up to send text messages to people when there’s a spike in overdoses in the county that are often caused by drugs being mixed with fentanyl.
“This is just one of many tools that we are hoping will help raise awareness around overdose and overdose deaths and support those struggling with addiction,” Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team Project Manager Casey Smith said.
Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County monitors overdose reports from hospitals and fire departments and will determine when there are more overdoses taking place in the community than expected.
Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Executive Director Helen Jones-Kelley said the text alert isn’t just for people who use drugs. She said anyone who knows someone suffering from addiction should also sign up because it will open the door to further communication.
She said officials want to be able to warn people when drugs may be mixed with another substance because it could save lives.
According to preliminary data from the Montgomery County Community Overdose Action Team (COAT), 123 people died in the county from accidental overdoses between January and May. That’s 18% lower than in 2021 when there were 150 recorded deaths in that time span.
Not every overdose results in death, said Susan Herzfeld, an epidemiologist with the county. She said there have been two or three surges so far this year that may have resulted in a text being sent out.
Credit: Jim Noelker
Credit: Jim Noelker
There have been 10 overdose deaths in June, according to the preliminary data. Montgomery County Public Health Commissioner Jennifer Wentzel said the goal is for no one to die from a drug overdose.
“The devastating impacts of fentanyl in the drug supply is playing a significant role in these deaths,” she said. “The good news is we continue to see an ever-increasing number of support systems being put in place to help support those in need. And today’s announcement of the OD surge alert system is another tool to help support those suffering from addiction.”
People suffering from addiction and seeking help can contact the ADAMHS Crisis Now Hotline at 833-580-2255.
Residents can sign up by texting their five-digit zip code to 937-582-8667 or by visiting www.mccoat.org.
About the Author
Parker Perry is the Montgomery County government reporter for the Dayton Daily News. He also covers public safety issues and the criminal justice system.