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Unknown drug mixtures likely caused ‘massive overdose’ in Battle Creek, officials say

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — After a “mass drug overdose event” at a Battle Creek home, the county health department is recommending several steps to reduce the risk of overdose.

It happened on November 23 at a private residence. After the 911 call, at least 10 people were found unresponsive and suffering from decreased breathing, the Calhoun County Public Health Department said in a news release Wednesday.

No one died, although seven people were evaluated in the emergency room, according to the release. The Department of Health said naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses, and artificial respiration have saved lives.

In this case, health officials said they suspected people intended to use cocaine, but were unaware that an opioid, such as fentanyl, was likely also present, leading to opioid overdose. They compared the event to that of April series of fatal overdoses in Kalamazoo County.

Alcohol consumption also complicated the situation in Battle Creek, according to the Department of Health.

CCPHD said the best way to prevent overdoses is to avoid drugs. But for those who use drugs, he makes the following recommendations:

  • Be aware that co-use of substances like alcohol increases the risk of overdose.
  • Be aware that unknown substances may be present in medications.
  • Have naloxone on hand in case an opioid is present in drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine.
  • Take it slowly, don’t go alone, and have a designated person who is alert and can help you in the event of an overdose.
  • Be aware that an opioid overdose may cause decreased or no breathing, blue skin or lips, small pupils, or an inability to wake up.
  • Respond to an opioid overdose with respiratory assessment, artificial respiration, and naloxone. Artificial respiration is essential if a person has reduced or no breathing.

Health officials reminded the public that Michigan’s Good Samaritan law prevents drug possession charges if you seek medical assistance for an overdose.

The Battle Creek Health Department, located at 190 E. Michigan Ave., distributes free naloxone and overdose response kits. Several other distribution centers are located throughout Calhoun County. You can find a complete list online.

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