Dear Reader, 

In three Western New York counties — Niagara, Chautauqua and Erie —  officials report an increase in overdose deaths since the pandemic. 

But resources from Narcotics Anonymous virtual meetings to home delivery of medically assisted treatment are available to New Yorkers. 

If there are additional resources or services for mental health care not included on this list or if you want to share how you are taking care of your mental health, please email me at 

I will be postponing our #IAm1in5 Facebook Live Chats and office hours for now. 

—Camalot K. Todd 

Since March 1, one third of people who have overdosed in Erie County have died, said James Kennedy, Jr., United States attorney, in a press release. 

“Lately, with the pandemic, we have heard a great deal about mortality rates,” he said. “We need to consider the role that social isolation coupled with non-stop reporting on the pandemic may have on the feelings of desperation and hopelessness among those struggling with substance abuse.”

Erie County operates a 24-hour Addiction Hotline at 716-831-7007. To learn more about naloxone access, medically assisted treatment and the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force, visit their website.

Drug overdose cases have increased in Niagara County as well. From January 1-April 6, overdose dispatches have increased by 35 percent, according to a Niagara County Sheriff’s Office press release. 

“We need to keep an eye on our loved ones, friends and neighbors during this pandemic,” said Acting Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti. 

A number of factors may be contributing to the rise including changes to clinic hours, heightened anxiety, or job loss, according to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. 

They urge people to call the Niagara County Crisis Services Hotline at 716-285-3515 for early intervention and to be aware of overdose signs like: if a person is not responsive, their fingertips or lips turn blue or gray or their breathing is slow, shallow or has stopped.

Chautauqua County also saw a spike in overdoses in March. The county sheriff’s office had 45 reported overdoses, two of which were fatal.

The spike seen in March was more than the combined total of any other two months over the past year, said James Quattrone, Chautauqua County sheriff, in a press release. 

“Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic we continue to be concerned about the ongoing drug epidemic and will continue to encourage individuals to seek assistance,” said Quattrone in a press release. “If you know someone with a substance use disorder, please encourage them to seek help and support them in their efforts.”

Individuals who need help are encouraged to seek assistance, the Mental Health Association (MHA) can help connect individuals to clinics. Their number is 716-661-9044.

There is also a new website in Chautauqua County dedicated to fighting substance use and connecting people with resources called CombatAddictionCHQ.

Narcotics Anonymous hosts meetings online now.

Those who are struggling with addiction can call the Buffalo Area’s NA helpline at 716-878-2316. 

New York Office of Addiction Services and Support also created a resource guide that you can view here.

For more of our coverage on mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic click on the links below: