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Overdose deaths in Albany Co. exceed previous years

Oct 28, 2020 5:30 am
Bethany Bump is reporting for the Times Union Albany County is reconvening its opioid task force in light of an increase in overdose deaths. The county confirmed 72 overdose deaths among residents during the first nine months of 2020 — a 44 percent increase over the same period last year and 10 more fatal overdoses than happened in all of last year. County officials said the number of overdoses already recorded this year are higher than those recorded in any of the last five years. And because of delays in toxicology screens, that number is likely even higher, County Executive Dan McCoy said. The county opioid task force will work to educate the public, help reduce stigma associated with addiction, improve access to treatment and prevent the flow of drugs into the community, McCoy said. The social isolation, disruption, stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic is undoubtedly a motivating factor behind rising overdoses, experts have said. The county, along with Catholic Charities and Project Safe Point provide a free opioid overdose prevention training each week. Plus, the Capital Region Open Access Engagement Program is available 24/7 at 1-866-930-4999 to connect people with available drug and alcohol addiction support and recovery services. McCoy said anyone struggling with mental health issues can also call the county's mental health hotline at 518-269-6634. It operates seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. He also urged people to reach out to a friend or family member who may be struggling with addiction right now. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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