UPDATE: After recent spike, Wyoming County’s overdose rate seemingly back to normal

WYOMING COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Two weeks ago, we reported that Wyoming County was seeing a major spike in overdoes with about 14 in over a two week span. 

Deputies say that has now calmed down as they are back to their usual numbers.

They believe this could be because of drug arrests they’ve recently made, but they know the fentanyl will continue to find its way in. 

“We fight the battle everyday with it,” Chief Deputy Bradley Ellison said. “You get one thing stopped, another thing comes in. You would like to stop it all, but sometimes that’s just impossible.”  

Deputies believe the opioid problem has subsided as they are seeing more fentanyl and heroin on the streets. 

Original Story:

WYOMING COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – In these unprecedented times, the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department is seeing an almost unprecedented rate of overdose calls.

Chief Deputy Bradley Ellison says he has not seen numbers like this in a long time. 

“Within a week-and-a-half, two week period, we had right around 14 responded-to overdoses with what we believe to be fentanyl,” he said. 

The Wyoming County 911 Center said they got two more calls just Friday morning.

Not only has this been hard on the first responders but also the dispatchers who are dealing with the COVID-19 concerns. 

“One of the issues with the O.D.’s, we’re trying to screen all of these callers and it’s been very difficult to relay between the two of what we’re dealing with because in many times, the O.D. calls may have similar situations to what the COVID-19 does, so it’s been very taxing on our dispatchers,” 911 Center Director Dean Meadows said. 

Deputies believe the rise could be the batch of drugs that have come in.

With fentanyl, Ellison says they are seeing where it is being sprayed on other types of drugs and with that liquid amount and various potency each time, it is hard for the user to know how much he or she is consuming. 

“If you got an 80-milligram OxyCotin, you knew it was 80 milligrams and the drug user usually realized how much he could use. With this type of drug we’re getting now, they don’t know what’s in it,” Ellison said. 

Even with this out of state 14-day quarantine, Ellison that is not stopping drug traffickers from places like Ohio and Detroit from still coming in. 

“The drug scene probably don’t care about the coronavirus,” he said. “They’re making their dollar. I mean, to them, it’s drugs.” 

So far, Ellison says there has only been one death related to the overdoses as many have been able to come to with on-site Narcan treatment.

Ellison did say the pill problem in the county has seemed to have subsided as drugs like meth, heroin and fentanyl are stepping in.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.