Madison County Coroner reports overdose death numbers stabilizing

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — Madison County coroner Tyler Berryhill tells News 19 that numbers of drug overdose deaths are coming down from the height of the pandemic.

Throughout the coarse of the pandemic, overdose deaths in Madison County were pretty high. Berryhill said for about 60-75 days between April and June, Madison County was averaging one death every 1.5 days.

Berryhill says it is important to realized rug overdoses happen every day, but now the death rate from them are slowing down.

Now, the county is back to ‘typical numbers’ with one death every 5 days.

Wendy Reeves, Interim Executive Director for the Partnership for a Drug-Free Community, says it’s good to see the numbers slowing down.

“Anytime we’re losing someone is a terrible tragedy for the family and the friends that lose that person… but we’re relieved a little bit that the number is at least going down,” said Reeves.

News 19 asked Reeves what caused the spike in overdose deaths during the pandemic. She relayed it to a few different theories.

“Not that there’s ever a good batch of heroin but there have been some instances of heroin that has been laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl can be very deadly… just a small amount of it can be,” said Reeves.

She said one of the other issues is the amount of isolation during the pandemic.

“A lot of times people are suffering from substance use disorder, there is a sense of isolation that they have and when you put isolation on top of that, it really compounds the problem,” said Reeves.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free Community wants to remind anyone going through recovery that even though social distancing is being implemented right now, you are not alone.

To get help, people can contact the Partnership office at (256) 539-7339 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Recovery Resource Hub will also utilize a statewide helpline, and can be reached at 1-844-307-1760. All calls are confidential and the helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Partnership for a Drug-Free Community is held within the One Stop Shop of Community Services at 2201 Clinton Avenue in Huntsville.

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