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Ryan declares public health emergency due to fentanyl-related deaths

Sep 01, 2020 5:45 am
The Daily Freeman is reporting Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan August 31, declared a public health emergency following the recent spike in fentanyl-related deaths in the county. In a press release, he said local opioid-related deaths between January and July 2020 were 171 percent higher than during the same period in 2019. Ryan said there have been 34 fentanyl-related deaths in Ulster County so far this year. Also during the first seven months of this year, fentanyl-related deaths accounted for 89 percent of all opioid-related deaths in Ulster County, a significant jump from the 58 percent rate of 2018, Ryan said. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. “I'm declaring this public health emergency to make sure we have all hands on deck, working together, to combat this deadly drug," he stated in the press release. Ulster County's Healing Communities Study team will partner with the county Sheriff's Office to create a spike alert communications plan that will give real-time updates to treatment providers when there is a sharp increase in the number of overdoses, fatal or nonfatal, in a 24-hour period. That way, he said, providers can be made aware that there could be a bad batch of fentanyl-laced drugs in circulation. The study team also will also create a public education campaign about the risks of fentanyl and the prevalence of the drug in the community, Ryan said. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.