Oxford Police: 10 overdose deaths have occurred in last six months

Published 1:03 pm Friday, April 16, 2021

The Oxford Police Department reported on Thursday that 10 people have died from drug overdoses in the LOU Community in the last six months.

Since January, seven people have died from overdoses, and five others have survived after overdosing.

According to OPD, prescription pills that they and other local law enforcement entities have come into contact with in recent months are Percocet, Hydrocodone, Xanax and Oxycodone that are being pressed with Fentanyl and have the same identifying markings as the real pharmaceutical markings.

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Fentanyl has also been seen locally in Meth, Ecstasy and Heroin, according to OPD.

Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen spoke with the EAGLE on Friday regarding the sudden surge in overdose incidents. Pinpointing the exact cause for people turning to those specific drugs is something OPD is working to do, but McCutchen cited the stress of the last year and the pandemic as one of many factors.

“We saw last year, our mental health calls went through the roof since the first year we started tracking them,” McCutchen said. “I think it’s a lot of factors that go into the strange year that we’ve had. I think that some of the stress and some of the pressure that people have been under, we’ve probably had new users. We’ve had those that have relapsed from recovery, and I think just the access of being able to get these products. Fentanyl is becoming pretty easily accessible, that I think you’re seeing a lot of your narcotics are being cut with Fentanyl and used in other drugs that it typically didn’t come in, and people are having adverse reactions to that.”

Production of counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs is growing across the area. McCutchen, and OPD, warn people of the risk of taking pharmaceutical drugs when not purchased in a pharmacy or other medical setting.

Pharmaceutical medication should only be taken when obtained from a licensed pharmacist and as directed by a licensed physician.

In September, OPD sent out a similar warning to the community regarding Fentanyl becoming more frequent in street drugs and in the systems of people who are overdosing. As of September, there were two people who had died of overdoses in 2020.

“We’re just trying to keep the community informed,” McCutchen said. “You don’t know what you’re buying if you’re not getting these medications from a pharmacy. Obviously, when you see that many overdoses in a small community like this, it is alarming. But you’ve got to get the word out, that what you may be buying on the street isn’t exactly what you may be getting.”

Below is a list of resources the community has access to if they or someone they know are struggling with addiction:

  • Oxford Police Department (662-232-2400)
  • Communicare (662-234-7521)
  • MS CARE  (662-234-6553)
  • Oxford Treatment Center  (662-291-7308)
  • Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center (662-373-2830)
  • William Magee Center (662-915-6543)