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County drug crisis evolving

September 19, 2018

Allen County’s opioid epidemic is evolving into a broader addiction issue with methamphetamine gaining popularity, Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health officials told the Fort Wayne City Council Tuesday. 

“It’s really medically, socially and economically really devastating our community,” Health Commissioner Deborah McMahon said. “The crisis is changing. We’re evolving into not an opioid crisis, but now it’s an any drug I can get my hands on crisis and the drug they’re choosing now is meth.” 

Opioids are still a major issue - the Fort Wayne Police Department seized 711 grams of heroin last year and have already seized 1,511 grams as of Aug. 31 - a record, FWPD Capt. Kevin Hunter said.

Changes to prescribing rules means doctors are prescribing opioid pain medication half as often and in amounts half as large. Opioids obtained illegally from a dealer now account for most overdose deaths, Hunter said. But that doesn’t mean overdoses are decreasing drastically. In 2017, Allen County had 1,200 overdoses and 127 deaths. There have been 56 overdose deaths with 32 still pending toxicology results.

“It’s slowing a little, but not by much,” Hunter said. 

However, police have noticed an increase in the amount of methamphetamine seized over the last two years, Hunter said. In 2016, police seized 1,400 grams of meth. In 2017, that amount increased to 2,156 grams. So far this year, police have taken 2,517 grams of meth off the street, Hunter said. 

“Meth is really the big drug on the street,” Hunter said, noting that police have already taken a record amount of the drug off the street so far this year. 

For more on this story, see Thursday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or return to www.journalgazette.net

dgong@jg.net

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