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Gundersen sees huge jump in drug overdoses to start week



Rick Solem

A scary start to the week for those at the Gundersen Health System emergency room.

Chris Eberlein, head of the ER and the chair of the La Crosse County heroin task force, said they saw eight overdose patients come in Monday. He added they might have maybe eight in a week.

“That’s a very large, concerning jump,” Eberlein said. “And when I interviewed a couple of the patients I had taken care of, they had mentioned they (had not) used any more than they usually use, which makes me concerned there’s something else in the community — carfentanil, fentanyl,.”

Eberlein added users have recently been more honest about their habits, partly because they have no concern of charges being filed.

“In the last few years, there seems to be much less reluctance to be forthcoming with what they’re taking and how much,” Eberlein said. “And, it allows us to give better care, not only to that patient but the community at large.”

Eberlein says the tough part about catching the latest drug fad is that it usually ends within a couple of weeks, making it difficult to pinpoint the source.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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