Recovery centers seeing increase in overdoses, issues with fentanyl

FILE — This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills.
FILE — This Aug. 29, 2018, file photo shows an arrangement of Oxycodone pills.(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 2:50 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Recovery centers across Wichita watched the coronavirus pandemic lead to a drug epidemic.

“We’ve definitely seen an uptick in fentanyl,” Travis Kalcik, executive director of Holland Pathways, said. “I think between COVID, folks being stuck at home, has led to an increase.”

“One of my resources in the community with local law enforcement has, has told us recently that in a two-week time frame, every drug bust, no matter what the substance was whether it was meth or another opiate, or Xanax, something to that effect, everything tested positive for fentanyl,” Kalcik continued. “So, what that means is folks that are buying stuff off the streets here, they’re essentially getting fentanyl, and not knowing it, which can be extremely dangerous.”

Recovery centers are on the front lines of a fentanyl crisis and the epidemic is concentrated in Wichita and other cities across the Midwest.

“I’ve been told that the straight line that Wichita has in conjunction with our southern border has led to an increase in fentanyl being introduced into the United States into the Wichita area,” Kalcik said. “With that we’ve seen an uptick.”

The uptick is evident in the data so far this year. Wichita police have responded to nearly 250 overdose calls in 2021.

“Opioids, fentanyl, all those types of things, it’s an epidemic. It’s tearing up the community,” Adam Sheldon with One Day at a Time faith-based sober living said.

In the last week alone, Wichita Police are investigating five possible drug overdoses. They say now more than ever, street drugs should be considered unsafe, because of the chances it contains fentanyl.

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