Disturbing number of drug overdoses in the past 24 hours in Columbia County


CHATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With an alarming number of overdoses in Columbia County in just the past 24 hours, one woman who lost her son says that a bad batch of heroin could be your last.

“It’s a horrible feeling and two years later it’s still a horrible feeling,” Donna Coon, of Ghent, said.

Coon says recent overdose deaths in Columbia County have brought back the pain of the day she lost her 28-year-old son JoJo. She was unable to save him from a deadly “bad” batch of heroin and she now wants to speak out to save others.

“If I can help one family not to have to go through what we’ve been through it’s worth it to me to do anything for those people.”

Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann says in just 24 hours on Sunday, Columbia County law enforcement responded to six overdoses and three of those were fatal.

“It’s just a horrific 24 hours Columbia County has gone through,” Volkmann said.

“It’s just one dose. It only takes one dose of heroin that’s laced with a high enough dose of fentanyl that they’re not going to make it out of it,” Coon said.

Police believe it’s a bad batch of heroin possibly laced with fentanyl, that even the lifesaving drug Narcan can’t save you from.

“All our first responders are on high alert because we’re not sure if this wave of a bad batch is over with yet,” Volkmann said.

Carl Quinn, the President of Columbia Pathways To Recovery, fears the worst is still yet to come.

“What’s still out there. There has to be more that’s still out on the street so I don’t think we’ve seen the peak of this yet,” Quinn said.

For Coon, she wants people to know there is help for those struggling with addiction.

“You may slip up but you can still get back into it. There’s hope.”

“Say I need help,” Volkmann said. “We won’t ask any questions but get you where you need to go and treatment beds.”

On Tuesday at the Chatham High School, there will be a free emergency Narcan training with Project Safe Point from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Department is reminding the public about the Good Samaritan Law that exempts persons suffering from an overdose, and witnesses calling for help, from arrest and prosecution for possession and/or being under the influence of drugs.

If you or someone you know would like help for your addiction or would like to find out about the resources available to you, you are encouraged to call the Columbia Pathways To Recovery Helpline at 877-HOPE-365. Regular hours of 9am to 9pm have been temporarily suspended and a trained volunteer is available to assist you 24 hours a day right now. Regular hours will resume once the immediate threat to safety has passed. You can also call this number to connect with the Chatham Cares 4 U initiative where the Village of Chatham Police Department will assist you in locating suitable treatment facilities. If you are in crisis, you should call the Mobile Crisis Assessment Team of Columbia Greene Counties at 518-943-5555 8am to 10pm 7 days a week. There is help. There is hope. You are not alone.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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