ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — The State Department of Health has issued a warning about fentanyl in opioids, cocaine, and other street drugs — saying with fentanyl — even casual or occasional use can result in death.

Julia Ritzler-Shelling works at the Mocha Center, a part of Trillium Health. She says during the holiday season, it’s expected some will boost their use of illicit drugs. 

“There is increased isolation. There is an increased lack of support,” she said.

And when services shut down, she says those who are using, — perhaps homeless, — can’t find the health resources they need. A recent trend she says is fentanyl making its way into drugs. She says if using drugs, limit the amount and do not do it alone.

“And just be careful. Because you never know what is in the drug supply out there these days,” she said.

The State Health Commissioner, Dr. Mary T. Bassett, said Friday “Fentanyl has made street drugs far more dangerous” adding “even casual use can result in overdose or death.” 

Every year around Christmas, Dean Lucas collects winter clothing for those struggling with addiction out on the streets. 

“They are somebody’s mom, they are somebody’s dad, they are somebody’s son or daughter or best friend,” he said.

Lucas does this in memory of his son who died of a heroin overdose in 2016. 

“I tell them to their face ‘I love you, try to become clean, because what took my son can take you,'” said Lucas.

Shelling says for those looking to end their addictions– know that centers like this, are all around Rochester. She says everyone’s journey into treatment or recovery, though is different.

“Individuals need to find the type of program that really fits them.”

The Mocha Center is located at 470 West Main Street. New Yorkers looking for support with their substance abuse can call a 24-hour hotline, 1-877-8-HOPENY or by texting “HOPENY”