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Chico, CA May Be Facing An Overdose Crisis

Being based in California, we always keep an eye on local stories that relate to addiction. And one of the more shocking ones (which received national headlines) occurred up north, in the city of Chico. In what has been labeled a “mass overdose,” 12 people were sent to the ER during the same night; with four in critical condition and one dying before reaching the hospital.


Not surprisingly, the word “crisis” has been brought up again; particularly because these incidents all appear to be related to the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Apparently the overdoses occurred at the same home, during what may have been a drug-fueled party.


Chico police chief Michael O’Brien spoke to the press after details were released, saying that he believed the drugs these people were taking were laced with other substances.


“Upon arrival, Chico police officers found multiple individuals in what appeared to be life-threatening, overdose conditions,” O’Brien said when describing the scene. “Officers began to both administer CPR and also naloxone to those individuals. Unfortunately one male individual was pronounced dead. Every indication is that this mass overdose incident was caused from the ingestion of some form of fentanyl in combination with another substance. That is yet to be confirmed, but we do anticipate confirmation in the coming days.”


O’Brien went on to praise the night’s paramedics and the success of overdose antidote naloxone. Thankfully, those first on the scene were trained on how to administer the drug and quickly revived many of those taken to the hospital.


We have talked about naloxone many times before on our blog pages and clearly, this is another example of why it needs to be part of every first responder’s recovery toolkit. Chico officers have already been proactive with this measure, following a mandate to always carry the antidote whenever they arrive at a medical emergency.


More details are expected to be released in the coming days, but so far it appears as though everyone who was hospitalized was in their young 20’s. The home has also been cordoned off and is being treated as a hazardous materials site.


If there is any silver lining in this tragedy, it is that 11 of the 12 lives were saved. There is no doubt that this incident would have led to more fatalities had the first responders not been trained in overdose resuscitations. Hopefully this works as a wake up call for other cities on the importance of proper OD training and the very real dangers of fentanyl.