The fentanyl overdose death crisis in Jefferson County

Jefferson County is dealing with an uptick in cocaine-fentanyl overdoses. This has become a new and growing concern for local medical professionals.

Ian Henyon, a certified recovery staff member at Birmingham Recovery Center, is dedicated to providing himself and others the chance for a brighter future.

The outpatient facility treats people who have come dangerously close to death due to the use of cocaine, mixed with fentanyl.

The experts say that people can use drugs and alcohol without developing an addiction. Natalie Henyon, a psychologist at the center, says that some people visit the clinic confident they can control their substance use while others come in desperate for help.

In 98 cases, Jefferson County coroner has noted that cocaine and fentanyl were involved as the cause of death.

There were 74 deaths in Birmingham. There were 9 deaths in unincorporated parts of Jefferson County. There were 10 deaths outside of Birmingham in other municipalities. Bessemer had 5 deaths.

When people think they may have an addiction to cocaine, they often don’t know where to turn. That’s why Henyon and the staff at Hope 4 Today have made it their mission to offer tough love, detox services, and a second chance.

Earlier this week, the Jefferson County Department of Health’s website had 450 people order free naloxone kits from their website. It happened only hours after Mayor Randall Woodfin tweeted about the city seeing too many cocaine-fentanyl overdoses.

“I don’t think fentanyl is going away” said Traffanstedt, medical director, “It’s in our drug supply to stay.”

The goal of NENA is to get these kits into the hands of people in need. The kit comes with two naloxone nasal sprays and a fentanyl strip, so you can test the drug to see if there’s fentanyl present.

“There is no completely safe way through using unlisted substances, but it can help people be more informed,” said Traffanstedt. “Hopefully that will help to reduce their risk of overdose.”

If you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, and are living in Birmingham, Alabama, the Birmingham Recovery Center can help. They provide protections to protect your health and safety from drug-related crimes and abuse.

Henyon explained, “They can call us and we can have a conversation about what’s going on.”


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