Overdoses spike in Columbia, Greene, region
Natasha Vaughn is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media as of early January 7, Columbia County recorded four drug overdoses in two days and Greene County, one. None of the overdoses were fatal. Greener Pathways Program Director Carl Quinn said in addition to the overdoses in Greene and Columbia counties, Rensselaer County had four to six overdoses during the same time period. “The overdoses in Columbia and Rensselaer...were all nonfatal,” Quinn said. “We use a utility called OD Map that lets us see overdoses around the state. ...[T]here was a nonfatal overdose in Schoharie and one in Montgomery. It seems to be affecting the whole Capital Region area.” In Columbia County, Quinn said, one of the overdoses was in the eastern part of the county, one in the Hudson area and one in the northern part of the county. Widespread overdoses like these can be an indicator that a drug supply has been contaminated with a high quantity of fentanyl, he said. In response to the spike, the Greener Pathways Mobile Outreach RV made trips to Philmont and Hudson this week to reach out to community members. Quinn said. “We hand out Narcan, we hand out fentanyl test strips, we’re available if people who are actively using want to talk to us about getting help, or just to support people in the community who might know people who are having issues with substance use.” Fentanyl test strips can be used to test for the presence of the drug, which is 100 times stronger than heroin, Quinn noted. Having a very small amount of it in a drug supply can cause a person to overdose. “We encourage people to test their drug supply and find out if it has fentanyl in it,” he said. The latest data suggest COVID-19 has accelerated the number of overdoses and overdose deaths nationwide. The CDC reports there were more than 81,000 drug overdose deaths in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period. To get a Narcan kit or fentanyl test strips text NARCANKIT to 21000 and a Greener Pathways Peer Advocate will respond. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.