ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Friday, the New York State Department of Health released comments regarding high opioid overdose rates in the state. The department said that a rapid uptick in overdoses related to opioid use has been seen in Central New York over recent weeks and months.

“Cases of overdose are on the rise in Central New York, but we can make each overdose less likely to be fatal,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said in a release on Friday. “Fentanyl has made all street drugs more dangerous and non-opioid drugs like methamphetamines can be fatal, too. I carry naloxone, just in case. And I urge everyone never to hesitate to call 911.”

Overdoses most commonly involve the use of fentanyl, a powerful form of opioid often seen as an additive into other illegal drugs including heroin, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine and pills including illicitly manufactured benzodiazepines, Molly and MDMA. Fentanyl is considered to be anywhere between 50 and 100 times as strong as heroin, and is considered a large contributor to opioid death numbers.

Dr. Bassett recently announced a statewide pharmacy standing order for naloxone, an overdose reversal medication administered by nose to block opioid effects and help a victim regain consciousness and regular breathing. Health care providers and members of the general public are encouraged to obtain naloxone, and can do so with a co-payment of up to $40 if insured through the state Naloxone Co-payment Assistance Program.

Those seeking help for substance abuse issues are encouraged to call New York State’s 24-hour, 7-days-a-week hotline at 1 (877) 846-7369. Those in need can also text HOPENY (467369).