BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Monday, police were called to the same apartment complex twice in on the east side of Jefferson County to deal with three deaths that may have been caused by drug overdoses.
At 7:30 a.m. Monday, deputies with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office were called to the Livingston Oaks Apartments regarding a 42-year-old woman who was unresponsive and not breathing. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It appears that the female had been using crack cocaine and had overdosed,” a release from the JCSO stated.
Later that day at 5:15 p.m., a person reportedly had gone to another apartment at the same complex to check on a family member. When they arrived, they found two women who were unresponsive and called 911. The victims were 56 and 58 years old. According to the JCSO, it appeared the victims had recently used illegal drugs.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths and is attempting to determine if the victims used the same type of drugs.
Both the Sheriff’s Office and recovery groups like the Recovery Organization of Support Specialists, or ROSS, say overdoses have increased in the area recently.
“It’s not a trend we want to see continue,” Sgt. Joni Money said.
Mark Livtine with ROSS was disheartened to hear about the three overdose deaths on Monday.
“Addiction, substance use disorder is a disease, not a moral failing,” Livtine said.
Litvine says the pandemic has contributed to the recent rise in overdoses because people aren’t able to have access to the help they need.
“The pandemic and the onset of quarantine, we are in a major substance abuse epidemic,” Litvine said.
Sgt. Joni Money with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office says they have responded to more overdose calls as well. She says the department is still investigating the other overdose deaths.
“They don’t know if they’ve gotten ahold of the fentanyl. It has the same kind of effects as the opioids do. So, they don’t realize that they’ve gotten ahold of something that’s deadly and could kill them,” Money said.
Litvine says showing love and support for those struggling with addiction is the best way to combat the overdose epidemic.
“We try to give people love so no one has to go through that,” Litvine said.
Litvine says ROSS offers free life-saving resources and a 24-hour hotline where people can call and get help; call 844-307-1760.