ONEIDA COUNTY, NY — The numbers are scary. 21 people have overdosed on heroin in the past ten days in the Utica/Rome areas, the Oneida County Sheriff says. Five of those people died and seven of the overdoses happened in a 24-hour period.
Sheriff Robert Maciol says an Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program issued a 'Spike Alert Notification,' because of the high number of cases.
Authorities say the spike could be due to tainted or extremely potent heroin, including heroin laced with fentanyl.
In a prepared news release, The Oneida County Overdose Response Team is calling on heroin users, their family members, friends and the public in general to help save lives by reaching out for help and paying attention to the behaviors of individuals around them and signs of overdose.
Family and friends of persons at risk of a drug overdose or those using opioids should carry Narcan (Naloxone). Narcan is a life-saving medication that, if administered during an opioid overdose can potentially save the life of the individual. Narcan is available at various local pharmacies throughout the county – the public is encouraged to dial 2-1-1 to receive assistance in finding Narcan trainings near them, along with information regarding medication drop off boxes, and treatment and recovery services.
“We are still awaiting official reports to confirm if it’s deadly fentanyl or something else, but investigators are moving ahead to try to find the source while encouraging the surviving victims to get treatment” said Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol, City of Utica Chief of Police Mark Williams, and City of Rome Chief of Police Kevin Beach in a prepared news release.