OKEECHOBEE — Amid the nationwide opioid emergency, the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) is issuing an overdose alert, following up on the recent overdoses in Okeechobee County. OCSO responded to eight overdose cases within a three-day period. One of the overdose victims, unfortunately, succumbed to the use of the powerful drug. One deputy was affected by coming in contact with the powerful drug and was treated by Emergency Medical Services. That deputy sustained no permanent injuries.
Of those eight 911 calls, deputies responded to the same address three different times within two days. The first call was received on Sept. 28 at 4:54 p.m. regarding a female who had overdosed. Less than four hours later, a second 911 call at 8:43 p.m. was received in reference to a male who had overdosed. On the following day, Sept. 29, a third 911 call was received at 5:37 p.m. in reference to the same male overdose victim, less than 24 hours later.
Narcan, a life-saving medication used during an opioid overdose, was used to revive those who suffered from the overdoses.
The recent spike in overdoses can be contributed to potent heroin or other narcotics mixed with fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid.
Sheriff Noel E. Stephen stated: “This is a scary place we are at in our society today. All my men and women have to remain vigilant as we attempt to save these individuals from themselves. It is taxing on our resources as well. Everybody I had working this weekend, along with numerous extras called into work overtime, were involved in working these overdose cases. We have to prove these individuals injected or ingested the drugs themselves and attempt to discover where their bad drugs come from. This does not allow us to do any other law enforcement duties during these times.
“Sadly, one of the individuals received Narcan Saturday, was transported to Raulerson by EMS, released from Raulerson, overdosed again Sunday, Narcaned and transported to Raulerson again. Monday we had to transport this individual to New Horizons for substance abuse assistance. I do not know what the answer is at this moment, but I feel it’s time we all work together for a solution!”