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Investigators believe cocaine laced with fentanyl was source of widespread overdoses

May 22, 2020 5:30 am
Kenneth C. Crowe II and and Steve Hughes are reporting for the Times Union Rensselaer County officials May 21, announced that at least two drug overdose deaths occurred in Troy, as well as 30 overdoses around the Capital Region, all between the afternoon of May 20, and the morning of May 21, after a potentially lethal batch of cocaine laced with fentanyl was sold to users. "It's something that's unprecedented for all of us," Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said during a live streamed press conference. Detectives are working to trace the cocaine from Troy back to where it originated, officials said. Over a 24-hour period 14 overdoses happened in Troy, two in Schaghticoke and 10 in Clifton Park. Officials reported another two deaths but did not detail where they occurred. They said the cocaine laced with fentanyl has probably been distributed throughout the greater Capital Region and into the neighboring states of Massachusetts and Vermont. County officials are asking residents to text NARCAN to 21000 to have fentanyl test strips, Narcan and other materials delivered curbside to their homes without any questions asked. McLaughlin said the county does not condone drug use, but given the situation the objective is to save lives. Rensselaer and other Capital Region counties reported an increase in overdoses when the COVID-19 pandemic first arrived in the area. Columbia County reported 17 overdoses by early April compared to three during the same period last year. Greene County had 13, compared to 10 in early April of 2019. Read the full story in the Times Union.