One Southern Tier county is experiencing a rise in prescription-related overdoses. In Tioga County, 19 out of 30 overdoses have been ruled accidental, meaning an individual took more than a recommended dose of a drug. Vince Briga explains steps you can take to ensure a family member doesn't make the same mistake.
OWEGO, N.Y. -- We've grown accustomed to a rise in opioid-related overdoses, but Tioga County is experiencing something different.
Since the beginning of the year, police responded to 19 overdose calls related to an individual taking too much of a prescribed or recommended medication.
The county's public health educator believes these numbers may actually be much higher, as many cases go unreported.
"People think that they aren’t as harmful, but really any substance in the body that is at an elevated level, can be harmful, and it can be lethal,” said Kylie Holochak, Tioga County Public Health Educator.
A big reason for these overdoses are children taking too much cough medicine, which can be hazardous.
"Make sure that medications are out of reach of little children. A lot of times that could be a child gets into something that a caps not on all the way," said Holochak.
Seniors are also falling victim to taking too much of their medication.
The health department recommends they lay out their pills and always read the labels. "When you're going over to visit them, count the pills in the bottle. Make sure that there's not too many missing from there or they're skipping their medications and then it's also important to go with them to their doctors’ appointments," said Holochak.If you have old medication lying around, the health department recommends bringing it to one of the many drop-off locations in the county, the Owego Police Department, Waverly Police Department, and 24/7 at the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office."
"A lot of people think of prescription opioids, so that those don’t get into the wrong hands but if families just have expired cough syrup in the house or if they have any type of pills really that can be harmful, you want to get them out of reach of children," said Holochak.
Anyone with questions are asked to call the Tioga County Public Health Department at 607-687-8600.