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Since Jan. 1, there have been 70 overdoses and 13 overdose deaths in Kansas City, Kansas, according to a police spokesman.
Since 2018, the number of overdoses has doubled every year. That year, there were only 13 overdoses; last year there were 110. It is a troubling trend being played out across the United States in big cities, as well as small towns and those in between, like KCK, according to a police spokesman.
Counterfeit pills that are made to look exactly like those dispensed from a pharmacy are fueling the increase, according to police. They contain potentially lethal amounts of fentanyl – a drug that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. Many who take the pills are unaware they contain fentanyl.
Once ingested or inhaled, most overdoses occur within seconds to minutes, the spokesman stated. The only way to prevent death is by quickly administering naloxone, known commonly by the name brand, Narcan, according to police.
The DEA selected the Kansas City metropolitan area as one of 11 locations in the U.S. for Operation Engage, a community outreach effort to address this nation-wide threat posed by fentanyl and methamphetamine. This is the first of several upcoming Operation Engage events scheduled for the area.
The event featured a panel discussion followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. Panelists included DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Rogeana Patterson-King; Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department Capt. John Diaz; Libby Davis, a Shawnee mother, Libby Davis, who lost her 16-year-old son last year to a counterfeit pill; Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department Battalion Chief Chance Grey and EMT Joshua Magaha; and Megan Fowler, LCSW, director of recovery services for First Call.
- Story from Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department