Officials Warn Of Recent Spike In Overdose Cases In Chautauqua County

Robert Bejil / CC BY 2.0

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Mental Hygiene are warning people that there has been a spike in overdoses in the county possibly related to a dangerous batch of heroin.

According to officials, there have been 24 non-fatal overdoses and four suspected fatal overdoses since the beginning of August. Narcan was administered after at least 19 of the 24 non-fatal overdoses and at least one of the four suspected fatal overdoses.

All four of the recent suspected fatal overdoses involved heroin or some other type of opioid. Heroin was the suspected drug listed in 19 of the 24 non-fatal overdose incidents.

On average, Chautauqua County experienced about 20 overdoses per month in 2019. Through July 2020, the County has experienced an average of 29 overdoses per month.

“Over the last year, Chautauqua County Government has collaborated with the Mental Health Association and local law enforcement agencies to improve outreach to individuals who have experienced an overdose.” stated Christine Schuyler, Director of Health and Human Services.

“We know this program works and these recent overdoses show how critically important it is for everyone to work together and connect people in need to appropriate resources.”

The peer response program provides resources and support to victims of overdose with a goal of helping them find connection, harm reduction resources, and opportunities for recovery.

Patricia Brinkman, Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services, reminds county residents of the range of prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services available in Chautauqua County.

“We urge people to utilize to learn more about addiction and to find specific services available throughout our county.” said Brinkman.

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 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.

“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 and try not to use alone,” said  Steven Cobb, Executive Director of the Department of Mental Hygiene

“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.”

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