File Photo – Crystal Lake Fire Rescue | LMCS File

Health officials have issued a warning after 16 people have died from suspected overdoses in the past two months in McHenry County, which is a significant increase from prior months.

The McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) announced the increase in suspected overdose deaths on Friday.

McHenry County Department of Health Community Information Coordinator Nick Kubiak said provisional data from the McHenry County Coroner’s Office shows there have been 16 suspected overdose deaths throughout September and October.

The deaths are a significant increase from previous months.

“While these deaths are currently suspected and not confirmed as opioid-related, the majority of McHenry County’s overdose fatalities involve opioids, often with fentanyl,” Kubiak said.

Fentanyl is a potent and highly lethal synthetic opioid and continues to be found in various illicit drugs in the county.

Fentanyl can be found in various counterfeit pills, including those sold as “legitimate prescription medications” obtained unlawfully, Kubiak said.

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The health department said it wants residents to remain safe and ensure they have the supplies they need.

Fentanyl test strips, used to detect fentanyl in all types of drugs, can help prevent an overdose.

Naloxone nasal spray, also known as Narcan, can help reverse an overdose.

Both fentanyl test strips and naloxone nasal spray are available for free in McHenry County, Kubiak said.

The McHenry County Department of Health offers supplies to walk-ins Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at its Woodstock location, 2200 North Seminary Avenue, Building A, and its Crystal Lake location, 100 North Virginia Street.

The health department also has four naloxone and fentanyl test strip vending machines.

They are located at the McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, The Other Side Café and Sober Bar in Crystal Lake), the Community Health Partnership Clinic in Harvard and the Youth and Family Center of McHenry County in McHenry.

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Health officials say they will be providing education and Narcan at the VAC’s Veterans Wellness Fair at the McHenry County Administration Building in Woodstock on Monday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Another event will be held at the Wonder Lake Neighbors Food Pantry on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.