File Photo – Huntley Fire Protection District | Photo: Tyler Tobolt / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Health officials are warning residents of a “significant increase” of overdoses and overdose deaths, which remain at higher than normal levels in McHenry County.

The McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition (SAC) on March 13 issued an alert that local law enforcement was reporting overdoses that required high quantities of the life-saving opioid reversal medication naloxone.

The alert also reported an increase in probable opioid-related deaths that occurred from March 5-14.

The suspected deaths have not been confirmed as opioid-related yet but most overdose deaths in the county occur because of opioids and are often caused by fentanyl, according to the SAC.

Fatal and non-fatal overdoses since then have remained at higher than normal levels in McHenry County, the McHenry County Department of Health said.

The health department would not share the number of suspected and confirmed fatal and non-fatal overdoses, claiming they are “committed to protecting the identity of people.”

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The health department warned that fentanyl is becoming more common in illicit drugs and even laced with other drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine. “It is one of the most lethal forms of opioids.”

Fentanyl test strips, which can be used to detect fentanyl in all types of drugs, can help prevent an overdose while naloxone, also known as Narcan, can help reverse an overdose.

The health department said they offer residents both products for free at their Crystal Lake and Woodstock locations. Those interested can call 815-334-4500.

Arlington Heights-based non-profit Live4Lali offers supplies online or by calling or texting them at 224-297-4393.