Midland, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – The Regional Medical Examiner for five counties in Michigan is sounding the warning alarm as fentanyl overdose deaths spike, with six dying over an 11 day period.

Dr. William Morrone, Medical Examiner for Arenac, Bay, Iosco, Midland, and Tuscola Counties announced an “unusual” trend for the area warning of the dangers of the drug.

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“There is a really bad batch of fentanyl and we need to warn the public and first responders,” Morrone said in a statement.

Medical Examiner Issues Immediate Recommendations:

1) Seek treatment.
2) Keep Narcan (naloxone) readily available. Visit the Midland County Department of
Public Health website for a list of locations that distribute Narcan FREE of charge:
https://midlandcountymi.gov/health-narcan
3) Administer Narcan when a suspected overdose is occurring, and call 911.
4) Do not use drugs alone.
5) Use fentanyl test strips.
6) Avoid mixing drugs.
7) Seek treatment.

“The risk of a fatal overdose remains ongoing for people who use both stimulant drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamines, as well as depressant drugs, such as fentanyl or other opioids,” the medical examiner’s office said.

Overdose Trends in Michigan according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) provided in a graph, the Michigan Overdose Data to Action (MODA), reveals a general trend showing an increase in opioid overdoses over the past few years.

The data is “to bring surveillance and prevention efforts together to decrease rates of drug misuse, substance use disorder, fatal and nonfatal overdoses, and drug use-related health risks,” according to the MDHHS. “MODA is working to strengthen the capacity of communities to prevent drug overdoses to promote the exchange of data to support effective prevention programs in communities throughout Michigan.”

According to the data, in 2019 there were 2,354 overdoses, in 2020 2,738 overdoses, and 3,096 in 2021. Just from January to September 2023, there were 2,144 overdoses.

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Senate Leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Porter Township) shared that after discussions with local sheriffs, the impact of the drugs brought across the border on Michigan.

“In Van Buren county, a small county,” he said, “we’re dealing with up to two deaths a week in overdoses.”
In the fentanyl that comes across the border, there is no consistency according to Nesbitt.

“Some are lethal, heavy overdoses, some have zero amount of fentanyl in them because there is no consistency on it and people are dying because of this,” he said.

In February, State Rep. Alicia St. Germaine (R-Harrison Township) sent a letter to Governor Whitmer reminding her of the “humanitarian crisis” in Michigan as the fentanyl overdoses continue to climb in the U.S.

“As legislators, we have witnessed the terrible impacts of fentanyl throughout our districts,” the letter said. “Numerous constituents have lost loved ones from narcotics laced with fentanyl. Drug rehabilitation programs and various community-based narcotics recovery programs, such as Families Against Narcotics, are overwhelmed by the surging number of overdoses and addictions. Local first responders struggle to keep up with increased fentanyl-linked crimes and deaths.”