BROOKSVILLE — Overdoses are becoming a big problem for drug users, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis reported in a press release Dec. 30.

As of Dec. 29, the release said, 75 overdose deaths were confirmed in Hernando County, with 13 more cases likely to be confirmed by the Medical Examiner’s Office once each of those investigations are complete.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis

Sheriff Al Nienhuis

“The 75 confirmed accidental overdose deaths for 2021 are 38 more than were reported in 2020, an increase of nearly 103 percent,” the agency said. “If/when, the 13 accidental overdose deaths that are currently pending are factored in, that percentage could jump to as high as 138 percent.”

The year 2020 also saw an increase in accidental overdose deaths when the number rose from 28 in 2019 to 37 in 2020, an increase of 32 percent, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Accidental overdoses (without death) responded to by the Sheriff’s Office also is rising, though the data does not reflect Fire Rescue responses without law enforcement being requested.

The number went from 150 reported accidental overdoses (without death) in 2020 to 244 in 2021, an increase of nearly 63 percent. The numbers were even worse in 2020 when the number of reported accidental overdoses went from 28 to 150, an increase of 436 percent.

Deputies began carrying Narcan in July 2019 to fight overdoses. Narcan, or Naloxone, is a medication that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

“A common statement made by addicts and/or associates of drug addicts pertains to ‘knowing their limits,’” the agency reported. “The numbers above are proof that not only do addicts not know their limits, they do not know what ‘other’ ingredients or illegal substances have been introduced to their drug of choice.”