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Madison County seeing a spike in overdoses, deaths amid pandemic

In just four days, HEMSI responded to 22 suspected overdoses. Two of those died.

MADISON COUNTY, ALABAMA, Ala. — One of the serious side effects of the pandemic is more overdoses. HEMSI says they responded to an unusual amount of overdose-related calls over the weekend.

From just Thursday to Sunday, HEMSI responded to 22 suspected overdoses. Two of those people died.

HEMSI Community Relations Officer Don Webster said, "We see opioid and heroin type overdoses daily for the most part, but when you see a jump like that, 20 cases in 4 days, you know something is going on."

Two weeks ago, HEMSI saw another big increase in Madison County. These overdoses aren't just happening in one area. Health officials in Memphis, Tennessee are also seeing huge spikes.

RELATED: Spike in drug overdoses in Shelby County over past month

"They are everywhere. It knows no section of town. It knows no city," said Webster. "Huntsville, Madison, out in the county. We looked at them, and there's no hot spots if you will. They are just spread out."

They don't know the exact reason for the spike in overdoses but speculate tainted drugs could be going around.

"We work with the STAC team guys, the law enforcement agencies, and getting us feedback of what kind of narcotics are going around because they change," said Webster. "When you see a spike like that, you can pretty well bet that there's a bad batch or shipment of drugs that have reached North Alabama."

The coronavirus pandemic could also be influencing people who struggle with addiction.

Patty Syksus with Not One More Alabama said, "Right now, structure and routine are really hard for a lot of people to find. Their worlds have just been changed. Their job may have just gone away; there is uncertainty."

Many people recently received a stimulus check. They say some could have spent that money on drugs adding to the spike in overdoses.

Even though things may look a little different right now, there are still resources available.

RELATED: Substance abuse and Self- Quarantining: Online support is available

"I think the big message is to be willing to go out and find new methods for supporting your recovery," said Syksus. "We are going to have to be willing to open our minds and stretch a little bit out of our comfort zone."

Every Sunday at 3:00 pm, you can join a Zoom call with parent coaches who are specially trained family members who have "been there" and can support you. Click here to register for the weekly chat.

For more information about Not One More Alabama, click here.

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