The numbers are startling. Within just the last week to 10 days, there have been 12 drug overdoses in Jefferson County. Two of those ended up being fatal.
While officials are looking into the recent spike, the said they cannot deny the obvious. There is some sort of correlation with the COVID-19 pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- There have been a dozen reported overdoses in Jefferson County since June 1
- Officials are still doing the research, but believe COVID-19 and its effect on life has played a role
- Numerous local organizations are willing to help anyone, hoping in-person counseling can resume soon
Since June 1, ambulances have been working overtime, responding to a dozen calls for a drug overdose somewhere in Jefferson County. Digging deeper, however, the numbers have actually been the rise for quite some time.
"We're very alarmed by it. There's so much more activity happening in the last three months than in prior months," said Stephen Jennings of the Jefferson County Public Health Service.
Jennings doesn't yet have any true data-based specifics, but does say early research shows the timing falls right in line with the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
Since March, Jefferson County has seen 81 overdoses, which is double the previous three-month span. More than half the deaths have come since then as well.
"It's had an impact on everyone. We know that stress and anxiety has increased," Jennings said.
County officials believe the issue is two-fold. There are direct issues such as unemployment, the lower cost of these drugs, and law enforcement's attention being elsewhere, giving dealers newfound confidence. The second part is COVID-19 restrictions leading to a lack of in-person treatment.
"A lot of that is being lost. A lot of these folks need a higher level of interaction, and they're not getting that right now," said Scott Gray of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators.
The hope is those face-to face services will be able to come back soon.
Until then, the county is screaming from the rooftops that a number of great organizations are still doing everything they can to help. They say it just takes one brave move to seek it out.
Here is a list of those organizations:
- Anchor Recovery Center of NNY: (315) 836-3460
- Credo Community Center for Treatment of Addictions: (315) 788-1530
- ACR Health: (315) 785-8222
- Samaritan Addiction Services: (315) 779-5060
- Samaritan Medical Center - Social Worker on Call: (315) 785-4516
- Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- Northern Regional Center for Independent Living: (315) 785-8703 business hours;
and (315) 785-8708 nights and weekends.
- Mobile Crisis Jefferson County: (315) 782-2327 of (315) 777-9681
- Hope Line: 1-877-8-HOPENY or Text 46736
To receive Naloxone training and free kits, contact Credo, ACR Health, or the Anchor Recovery Center of NNY.
The public is also reminded of New York State’s 911 Good Samaritan Law, which allows people to call 911 without fear of arrest due to drug possession if they are having a drug or alcohol overdose that requires emergency medical care, or if they witness someone overdosing.