WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Palm Beach County is off to a tragic start. Overdose deaths in Palm Beach County are up 23% compared to the same time last year.
That rising number is a warning of the current storm surrounding opioid use.
"I can’t change what’s happened in my family but maybe I can impact someone in this community that needs help and I can go to sleep at night knowing that I did the best I could," said Cindy Singer.
It’s the memory of her son Rory that pushes Singer to fight every day to help others battling addiction.
"I say this all the time but to help one is to help many," Singer said.
She and co-founder Staci Katz created Our2Sons to help people into recovery. They’re also working now with the Palm Beach County HUB, resource center for the recovery community.
"We have an opioid epidemic and we have a COVID epidemic — a pandemic," Singer said.
A rise in mental health cases, Singer said, is pushing people to turn to drugs, and Palm Beach County is seeing an increasing circulation of drugs laced with a lethal component.
"Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than any other drug we’ve ever seen including heroin," Singer said.
Data from the Palm Beach County medical examiner's office shows 2021 saw about 50 less overdose deaths than 2020, but already in 2022, 54 people have died, up 23% from the same time last year.
"We as a community have a responsibility to use whatever resources we can," Katz said.
Narcan or naloxone is an emergency treatment for an opioid overdose. It reverses the symptoms
Already this year Palm Beach County Fire Rescue has administered more narcan that the same time last year. The HUB is also a training and distribution site for the use of narcan, spreading a strong message that this box can save a life.
"You have no chance to change your life if you’re not alive," Singer said.
Recently Singer and Katz helped lead a protest to encourage all first responders to carry narcan. They believe it won’t prevent the rise in overdoses, but may prevent the deaths.
"We know that the fire rescue has it there are certain police departments that carry it but its not a policy that is not across the state," Katz said.