ALEA sees spike in drug overdose deaths statewide

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) says there has been an increase in overdoses in every county in Alabama, and each of those cases was a person battling the substance addiction.

According to Madison County Coroner Tyler Berryhill, there have been seven suspected overdose deaths since mid-February. In Marshall County, two people have died from fentanyl overdoses – just in the past three days.

ALEA says fentanyl has become a bigger statewide problem in recent months.

Laura Edwards of Huntsville says she lost several friends to overdoses who were struggling with work and financial issues due to the pandemic.

“These are stress-related overdose deaths,” Edwards said. “People just want to feel good because I know that’s how I wanted to feel. Every week someone I know in my life has overdosed, or has overdosed and died.

Every day, Edwards says she is recovering from her own drug addiction. She says recent drug overdose-related deaths may be just the beginning. Edwards is now a Peer Support Counselor for the Partnership for a Drug Free Community in Huntsville.

“Support specialists like Laura are key to our program because she has been through this journey and lived it,” said Wendy Reeves, program director.

Reeves says people like Laura are key to preventing overdose deaths from rising. But preventing overdose death has been a challenge.

“Instead of us being able to impact those numbers, they went up. They are going in the wrong direction. We are obviously very concerned about this because all of these lives are important. Each of them. There are families and friends who are devastated.

Fentanyl has flooded the state and is a leading cause of recent overdose deaths.

“Fentanyl has been a very large part of the overdose deaths that we see here locally. It’s a very dangerous drug and it will kill you if you’re not careful,” Reeves said.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free Community will hold a town hall Thursday evening to discuss recent overdose deaths as well as talks with mental health experts about prevention measures.


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