Overdoses on the increase in Columbia County
Natasha Vaughn is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the number of suspected overdoses in Columbia County has increased approximately 64 percent so far this year. The Columbia County Department of Health reported on April 26, there have been 36 suspected overdoses in the county between January 1, and April 23, compared to 22 suspected overdoses during the same period last year. This year, 31 of those overdoses were non-fatal; five were fatal. The Department of Health said the substance abuse community has faced increased risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are multiple reports of drug supplies being contaminated with fentanyl or other substances. Greener Pathways Program Director Carl Quinn said, “People are not necessarily expecting fentanyl to be in what they’re using, and I think that’s causing the number of overdoses to increase.” A Hudson man was recently arrested on felony drug charges after allegedly having dozens of blue pills that appeared to be Oxycodone, but they were found to contain fentanyl. Fentanyl and other items are typically added to drugs as a way to make them cheaper, Quinn said. The county Department of Health said the increase in overdoses is likely connected to the pandemic, with access to treatment options more difficult on top of an increase in isolation. “There are some meetings and things that are starting to come back to in-person now,” Quinn said. “That’s been a slow process. I think there’s a certain element that has still been contributing to that, with people having to distance and not attend their usual methods of support.” The state has established the Never Use Alone Hotline which allows a person to stay on the phone with someone who is also able to call 911 if needed. The hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-997-2280. The Department of Health also advises people to make sure they have access to Narcan. Naloxone, or Narcan, a medication designed to quickly reverse opioid overdose. “Although not everybody agrees with Narcan, some people say it’s enabling, but we look at it as if somebody can be revived with Narcan it gives us a chance to continue to have a conversation about what getting help looks like,” Quinn said. Text Narcan to 21000 and a Greener Pathways Peer Advocate will be in touch about getting Narcan. Greener Pathways is available by phone at 518-291-4500 or text bo 518-822-7437. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.