HUNTSVILLE, Alabama (WAFF) – Amid a national opioid crisis, Alabama has seen a 33% increase in drug overdose deaths in the past year.
According to Don Webster of HEMSI, last year Madison County had 763 overdoses. Just over half of 2021, there have already been 502 overdoses.
âWe have seen a 23% increase over last year. Now why is this? I don’t know, âsays Webster.
Recovery Organization of Support Specialists marketing director Mark Litvine, who has battled drug addiction in the past, says it’s all due to the pandemic.
âThe helpline is receiving more calls than ever before. We are currently experiencing a major epidemic of substance use. Opioids, whatever they are, the problem is when COVID hits isolated and self-medicated people, âsays Litvine.
ROSS has a 24/7 hotline that people with drug addiction can call for help. The hotline receives 800 to 1,000 calls per month. The number to call is 1-844-307-1760.
Wendy Reeves, executive director of the Drug-Free Community Partnership, says it’s important for those struggling to connect to resources they didn’t know existed. She says her organization gives hope.
âThere are all kinds of challenges, whether it’s insurance or a number of barriers. So what we’ve done, we’ve set up this resource center and we’re taking it all away.
Reeves says she hopes people recognize the problem in our community.
âI hope people are paying attention. Support programs like ours because we need them. We are small. We provide these services to help people have better lives, âsays Reeves.
Madison County averages 77 overdoses per month. The number of overdoses this year is only 200 from last year’s number.
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