Doctors say holidays can be dangerous for addicts as Cape Coral police see an increase in overdoses

Published: December 23, 2021 4:20 PM EST
Updated: December 23, 2021 5:44 PM EST

The Cape Coral Police Department says they’ve seen an uptick in a dangerous, and tragic statistic. An increase in drug arrests in recent weeks and drug overdoses skyrocketing this year.

WINK News spoke with a police officer about a father and son who both overdosed Wednesday night and a doctor who said this time of year people fighting addiction can be overwhelmed.

“It’s like a loaded gun to the head. It’s just so so deadly,” said Master Cpl. Phil Mullen.

Heroin and fentanyl are to blame for the spike in overdoses in Cape Coral.

The days before Christmas, Mullen said, is a time of cheer for many, but for others, it is nothing but stress. “It can be depression. Just a down time of the year for them.”

Mr. Timothy Dougherty, a medical director at Cape Coral Hospital, said, “that added pressure in this pursuit of that fabricated holiday moment, creates a perfect storm for depression, increased suicidal thoughts, and, unfortunately, increased drug and alcohol use.”

For twenty years, Doughtery watched people with addiction walk through the doors of the emergency room. He said they were people who need help that, “unfortunately, didn’t seek the help that they could obtain, either through our lee health addiction center through Operation PAR, SalusCare, there’s plenty of addiction centers out there that can help people. And I think that if there’s one thing that I would say to those people, and that’s probably what the family really wants for Christmas, is them getting help.”

That help is available, even from the police. Especially where there is an overdose.

Mullen said if someone you know overdoses, call 911 immediately. Officers on the scene will get there and care only about saving a life.

“We’re not gonna worry you know about trace drugs that are left behind. We’re not going to be arresting people for that. We are going to be coming and trying to save lives at that point, so please call us if that’s the situation you find yourself in.”