Quick Takes

Overdoses up in Lexington as fentanyl is being found in all types of drugs

By: - January 9, 2024 2:12 pm

Naloxone (Narcan) nasal spray can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department announced it is seeing “an unusually high number of suspected nonfatal drug overdoses” a week into 2024. 

There were 29 such overdoses Jan. 4-7, the health department reported, compared with 17 the previous week.

“This is an important time to carry naloxone, used to reverse opioid overdoses, especially if you or someone you know has substance use disorder,” the health department said in a statement. “Fentanyl has been found in all types of regulated drugs, so naloxone may help regardless of the drug taken.” 

Signs of an overdose include labored breathing, unresponsiveness, choking and more. 

If you think someone is overdosing, here’s what experts say to do: 

  • First, call 911 so help is on the way.
  • Try speaking to the person. For example, say: “I believe you might be overdosing, and I am going to administer Narcan.” 
  • Rake your knuckles over the person’s chest. This may also elicit a response. 
  • If the person isn’t responsive, administer Narcan. 

A box of Narcan comes with user instructions, which include these rescue steps:

  • Put the person on their back. 
  • Tilt the person’s head back. 
  • Insert the Narcan nozzle into one of the person’s nostrils. 
  • Press the plunger and then remove the nozzle from the nose. 
  • If the person doesn’t respond, in two minutes, repeat the process. 
  • Stay with the person until emergency medical staff arrive. 


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.