LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – The La Crosse Police Department and Gundersen Health System professionals are trying to get the word out about a rise in the number of non-fatal overdoses and four possible deaths related to the use of drugs in the community.
Since January 1, La Crosse Police said they’ve responded to four suspected overdose deaths and a large number of non-fatal overdoses. The January 20 department statement said that in the past two days, officers have gone to five suspected non-fatal overdose incidents.
“Awareness and education can be the best tool we have as a community when it comes to saving a person from overdosing,” said La Crosse Police Chief Shawn Kudron. “Narcan is a medication that can be given to a person to reverse an opioid or fentanyl overdose. La Crosse Police Officers carry Narcan with them during their patrols. However, this alone is not the cure for substance use in our community as there are some substances that do not respond to Narcan.”
According to a physician at Gundersen Health System, it appears that fentanyl is the key to the recent increase in cases.
“Tragically, we have noticed a significant increase in overdoses this week. Although we await official toxicology results, we suspect fentanyl is again largely responsible,” said Chris Eberlein, MD, Gundersen Emergency Medicine. “Although evaluation is necessary, we cannot rule out the possibility of additives being combined with the fentanyl. For this reason, it is of the highest priority for anyone using illegal substances to not use alone, to have Narcan available, and because of the dangerous potency, administer rescue breathing if needed. Current synthetic opiates combined with additional substances can render naloxone (Narcan) less effective.”
”La Crosse Police, Gundersen and other partners are committed to educating our community about the dangers of unknown substances and the deadly consequences that could occur from use. People are often unaware of what substances may be laced with when choosing to use. We understand Substance Use Disorders do not only impact those using the substance, but also their families and the community,” Chief Kudron said.
If you, a friend, or family member needs help, there are resources available. Please see the list below.
Hazelden Betty R Ford Foundation
Gundersen Behavioral Health
Mayo Clinic Health System
Phone: (608) 392-7390
L E Phillips Libertas Center
Peace of Mind Counseling
Family and Children’s Center
AMS of Wisconsin, LLC
Tomah VA Medical Center
La Crosse County Human Services
Coulee Recovery Center
Phone: (608) 784-4177