POINT PLEASANT — On Thursday, officers with the Point Pleasant Police Department were taking a bucket of used needles to Pleasant Valley Hospital for disposal and PPPD Chief Joe Veith confirmed a deadly synthetic opioid has shown up in the city.
Veith said in addition to heroin, carfentanil use has been confirmed in Point Pleasant. Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is normally used to tranquilize elephants and was blamed in a spike in overdose deaths last year in the Midwest. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), carfentanil is 10,000 more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent than heroin.
According to the DEA, first responders or officers should be ready to administer naloxone in the event of exposure to carfentanil. Naloxone is the antidote for opioid overdose. Immediately administering naloxone can reverse an overdose of carfentanil, fentanyl, or other opioids, although multiple doses of naloxone may be required. Deputies with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department may soon carry naloxone, according to Sheriff Greg Powers. Mason County EMS personnel do carry naloxone.
The needles the PPPD were transporting had been collected over some time and officers retrieved them from places across the city, disposing of them for citizens who reported them and disposing of those they come across to prevent them from harming anyone else.
Intravenous drug use is not unique to Point Pleasant and, as reported in another story on page one dealing with a drug bust in Gallia County, Ohio, it is affecting the entire region.