Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in Chautauqua County for this year from 2020. Chautauqua County Mental Hygiene Grant Director Steve Kilburn said overdoses, compared to last year, are relatively flat, “Deaths, however, have more than doubled in the county taking two time frames, last year and this year, in comparison.”
Kilburn said when it comes to fentanyl the illicit drug supply in the county is deadlier than ever.
Evergreen Health Exchange Coordinator Ian Eastman said fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin, “When a person has more of an opioid in their system than their system can tolerate, it’s going to shut off the breathing, right, it’s going to retard that breathing and create that emergency situation.”
Eastman said having Narcan available can help prevent fatal overdoses, “It’s probably easier than ever to get Narcan. Some of the ways that you can do is that you can access that by going to my program at Evergreen Health. We’re located at 320 Prather Avenue. We’re there 10 to 4. We can train a person in how to use Narcan and prevent an overdose. It only takes ten minutes to learn how to do that.”
Kilburn said what needs to happen now is increasing the availability of Narcan as well as proven harm reduction programs like the Mental Health Association‘s OD Map Peer Response project, “This project is one in which when the MHA are made aware of an overdose, they make an attempt to reach out to the individual and their family, offer resources support. You might imagine that the receptivity to that varies from perhaps from ‘No thank you’ to ‘What’s out there, what can I do?'”
Kilburn said a full range of local resources can be found online at CombatAddictionCHQ.com.