No treatment referrals in 2016 West Virginia overdoses

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A follow-up study of a drug overdose outbreak in West Virginia last year found that none of those who were treated at hospitals were referred for long-term substance abuse help.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the state Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services conducted the study of more than two dozen overdoses last August in Cabell County. Two people died. The overdoses were caused by heroin laced with fentanyl and an elephant tranquilizer.

According to the study, 20 overdose patients were treated at hospital emergency rooms, but a dozen of them left against medical advice. And none of them were referred to drug treatment centers.

Cabell County Emergency Services Director Gordon Merry says very few of the overdose victims that his agency handles each week are referred to substance abuse treatment.

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