Tampa, Florida 2021-12-01 06:48:51 –
Tampa, Florida-For Ellen Snelling, it’s still very surreal. In 2016, she received an unexpected call that no one wanted. Her brother died of a drug overdose in Miami.
“I was actually at Universal Studios, just before Christmas,” she recalled. “And I got a call saying he was overdose and died-I just-can’t explain how-it was just terrible.”
And in the summer of 2021, when one of her relatives had a similar horror, history was almost repeated, and Snelling said, “very close to death,” miraculously survived.
“It’s like you can’t understand it,” Snelling said.
Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that often contaminates other drugs, Snelling said, and is responsible for both cases. In more recent cases, the affected families were unaware that they had taken fentanyl.
“Given the loss of someone in the family from drugs, it’s terrible, it can cause nightmares, and it’s always worrisome,” Snelling said. “You know, I know the devastation it causes to the family.”
Today, so many families are devastated across the country.
The CDC announced in November that the death toll from drug overdose exceeded 100,000 nationwide between April 2020 and April 2021. This is a record amount.
The statistics warn Snelling not only as a person who survived the crisis, but also as a person who is fighting it every day as the president of the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance.
“It’s really almost incomprehensible — how widespread the epidemic is, and it’s hitting us here in the Tampa Bay area,” she said. “It is arguably fentanyl that causes the most destruction and death, people are incorporating it into their medicines, and they are not even aware of it.”
“You have a big chance in your life, unless it’s the way the world is today-one tablet-by a doctor’s prescription from a pharmacy,” she added.
Snelling shares data with ABC Action News to show that overdose deaths in Hillsborough County have surpassed the annual number of road fatalities, murders and suicides over the past few years.
Data show that fentanyl analogs are currently the most common drug found in overdose victims. Data also show that in the first six months of 2020, 1,338 calls “over all EMS / Fire Rescue” were treated with Narcan, a drug that rapidly reverses the effects of overdose, in Hillsboro County. It indicates that it was a call for opioid overdose. The same 6-month period in 2019.
Snelling said the Tampa Bay area is generally suitable for a myriad of drug treatment programs, but is regional, with better education from an early age, more funding for treatment and prevention, and improved rapid access. And treatment to better prevent the flow of fentanyl from Mexico, which we believe can do more nationwide, and stronger border security.
“We have to deal with all this,” Snelling concludes.
Her hope is that the situation will improve next year to prevent more families from experiencing her twice.
“2022 will be my prediction. I’m just praying and hope it’s the year we start to turn this around,” she said.
Snelling’s biggest plea is for those who need help to find it quickly.
Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance Website Contains a list of programs available in our area..
In addition, the SAMHSA National Helpline for those seeking help is 1-800-662-4357.
After personal tragedy, advocate hopes drug overdose spike ends in 2022 Source link After personal tragedy, advocate hopes drug overdose spike ends in 2022