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Henderson sees 'inconceivable' spike in fentanyl-related overdoses, deaths so far in 2023

In August 2022, the Drug Enforcement Administration and law enforcement partners seized brightly colored rainbow fentanyl pills in 18 states.
Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
This file photo shows fentanyl pills captured in 2022 by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Law enforcement groups in Henderson County are working to raise awareness following a dramatic increase in fentanyl overdoses.

The Henderson Police Department held a news conference Friday to announce 14 overdoses and four deaths since the beginning of the new year. Police Chief Sean McKinney said those figures have come as a shock.

“If we were to continue on this pace, that would be 104 deaths, which is inconceivable for this community,” he said.

The overdoses are believed to be caused by the use of fentanyl or other drugs, such as meth, that have been laced with fentanyl.

“It can be in pill form. The pills can be pink, yellow, blue. They’re stamped with M30 on it. That’s what we were seeing in the past. Now the fentanyl appears to be in a powder form. It can be white, brown, purple, gray,” McKinney said.

Fentanyl is taken orally or snorted.

Anyone who may be using the drugs is urged to keep Narcan on hand in the event of an overdose until emergency professionals arrive. Free supplies of the overdose reversal drug can be obtained at the Henderson Health Department each weekday during regular business hours.

The health department also has a mobile unit stationed at the Holiday Motel in Henderson on Wednesdays.

Henderson County is also doubling the manpower on the local drug task force to catch traffickers.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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