ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A more lethal form of heroin is currently making its way around Western New York, New York State Police (NYSP) based out of Batavia said Tuesday.
The organization said they’ve noticed an increase in heroin overdoses over the past 12 days, from January 27 to February 7.
“Be aware that a more lethal strand of heroin is being distributed in WNY,” NYSP said in a statement.
Over the past 12 days, troopers said 94 overdoses have been reported, six of which were fatal.
20 overdoses and 3 deaths came from Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties, NYSP said.
Naloxone was administered 57 times during this period. Naloxone, the generic form of Narcan, is an emergency treatment used on someone actively experiencing an opioid overdose.
Police did acknowledge that in rural areas, those experiencing overdose may have a longer wait time before first responders are able to get on scene, which may contribute to the overdose fatality rate. However, they maintain that a more lethal strand is currently circulating.
“We want people to know that if a narcotic is being used and the response time is longer in those areas, there’s a greater chance of being killed by that drug,” said Jim O’Callaghan with New York State Police, Troop A.
“If we’re seeing it in just this 12 days, there could be a ripple effect,” he said.
“A grain as small as a piece of sand of fentanyl, will kill a human body instantly,” he said. “A lot of time it gets minced down at a factory, it’s kind of put in a large batch of heroin and that typically makes certain batches more deadly than others.”
Deputies with The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said there haven’t been any reports of this strain in the Rochester region. And to keep those numbers down, they’re focusing on outreach and raising awareness.
They’ve even launched a new online dashboard for the public to keep track of overdose responses, a combination of MCSO, fire and EMS.
O’Callaghan said education and awareness is important for all ages.
“This opioid use is being done by younger age people, middle age, all walks of life,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from, how much money you have, how little money you have, we’re seeing it across the board.”
Both NYSP and MCSO said they’ve been visiting local schools to educate on substance and opioid abuse.
Addiction and Harm Reduction Resources
If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, the following organizations may be able to help:
- Harm reduction resources and info at Trillium Health
- Kids Escaping Drugs – 716-827-9462
- NYS Office of Addiction Services and Support
- HOPEline at 1-877-846-7369
- Monroe Co. Narcan/Naloxone Training