Columbia County’s Increase in Recent Overdoses

April 26, 2021

For Immediate Release

The number of suspected overdoses in Columbia County has increased since the beginning of this year, which has been particularly pronounced over the last several weeks.

From January 1, 2021 through April 23, 2021, there have been 36 suspected overdoses in the county, compared to 22 for the same period in 2020, an increase of 64%.  According to the ODMAP program, this total number includes 31 non-fatal suspected overdoses this year (an increase of 55% compared to 20 for the same time period in 2020) and 5 fatal suspected overdoses so far this year (an increase of 150% compared to 2 in the same time period in 2020).

It is likely this uptick in overdoses is connected to the COVID-19 pandemic and a disruption to normal operating procedures of health and human services agencies.  Unfortunately, the necessity for overdose prevention and response has not abated during the pandemic.  The substance use community has faced increased risk during this disruption.  Additionally, there are many reports of the drug supply being contaminated with fentanyl and other substances.  Fentanyl is a deadly drug that even in small amounts can be fatal.  Overdoses from fentanyl have occurred in the past for people using crack, cocaine and other substances besides opiates.  People in active use should always assume their supply is contaminated.  BE VIGILANT.

If you or a loved one is in active addiction, you are encouraged to take the following precautions to minimize your risk of overdose:

  • If you do use, use safely by using smaller amounts or seek help for your addiction;
  • Have access to Narcan;
  • Let a friend or loved one know where you are;
  • Do not use alone.  You can call the NYS Never Use Alone Hotline and someone will stay on the phone with you to make sure you are safe and contact 911 if needed. The hotline is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-997-2280.
  • If you or someone you know experiences an overdose, call 911 immediately.  You can be protected by the NYS Good Samaritan Law.  Minutes matter in an overdose and you can save a life.

 

The general public and people in active use are strongly encouraged to carry Narcan.  Narcan is a product that can reverse an opioid overdose.  If you need Narcan, you can

text NARCANKIT to 21000 and a Greener Pathways Peer Advocate will connect with you about getting Narcan to you.

Help is available by calling Greener Pathways at 518-291-4500 or text to 518-822-7437, Twin County Recovery Services Columbia Clinic at 518-828-9300 or Greene Clinic at 518-943-2036 or Columbia County Pathways to Recovery Helpline at 877-467-3365.