Authorities are warning the public and offering safety tips after seeing an increase in suspected overdose deaths recently reported in McHenry County.
The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) said Friday there has been an increase in deaths, suspected from overdoses, in the county.
The department did not provide specific numbers or say what date the increase was first seen.
“At this time, there are no similar increases in ER visits or EMS responses associated with overdoses,” the department said in a statement.
Health officials say the deaths have not been confirmed as opioid-related yet but most overdose deaths in McHenry County are caused by opioids, most often fentanyl.
Fentanyl, which is highly lethal, is becoming more common in illicit drugs.
The health department said it is even laced with other drugs like cocaine or methamphetamine, or pressed into counterfeit prescription drugs.
“MCDH and its partners want everyone to remain safe and ensure they have the supplies they need,” the department said.
Fentanyl test strips, which can be used to detect fentanyl in all types of drugs, can help prevent an overdose.
Naloxone, also referred to as Narcan, can help reverse an overdose.
Fentanyl test strips and Narcan are available for free from the health department at their Crystal Lake and Woodstock offices. Those interested can call 815-334-4500.
The MCDH will also be providing education and Narcan at the Crystal Lake Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.