MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services is warning residents that there has been a spike in non-fatal overdoses, which may be a sign that a strong batch of heroin is in the community.
“From March 1 to March 11, there were 19 reported overdoses in Chautauqua County,” stated Christine Schuyler, Director of Health and Human Services. “On average, we saw 19 overdoses per month in 2019. It is very concerning to see that we’ve hit this number in just the first 11 days of March. Fortunately, no fatal overdoses have been reported yet this month.”
Chautauqua County government and its partners encourage people who use drugs, and their family members, to take advantage of local resources for harm reduction and recovery. People who use drugs and their families should obtain a naloxone (Narcan) kit if they do not have one on hand, and should be prepared to call 911.
The New York State 911 Good Samaritan Law allows people to call 911 without fear of arrest if they are having a drug or alcohol overdose that requires emergency medical care or if they witness someone overdosing.
The Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County also has resources to assist individuals suffering substance use disorders and their families.
“In the face of an uptick in overdoses that we are experiencing, I encourage people to reduce harm in any way possible. Remember that fentanyl can be in any drug now, not just heroin. Make sure you have Narcan accessible, try not to use alone, remember it’s safer to use a smaller amount,” commented Steven Cobb, Executive Director of MHA. “If you’re looking for help with recovery, decreasing use, or using in a safer way the MHA can connect people anywhere in Chautauqua County, with a Recovery Coach by calling 716-661-9044.”
Evergreen Health Services is also a resource for people who use drugs during this time. They can be reached by calling 716-541-0678.
“This overdose crisis is a public health issue as well as one of stigma. As a health care provider serving patients every day in Chautauqua County, we know we need to make resources accessible in a manner that is as non-judgmental as possible,” said Emma Fabian, senior director of harm reduction at Evergreen Health. “Narcan is a medication that has the ability to block the effects of opioids and overturn an overdose – and it’s readily available to community members at our Syringe Exchange Program at 31 Water Street in Jamestown. We are proud to be one of many partners in the area working to reduce the risk of fatal overdoses by providing harm reduction tools.”
If you are with someone who experiences overdose, call 911, and administer naloxone (Narcan) if it is available.