Rensselaer County working to curb sudden spike in overdoses


TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rensselaer County Health Department is working to curb drug overdoses which have skyrocketed this year.

In the past three days, the county has seen nine drug overdoses which has led to four people dying. To connect to people at risk during the pandemic, the county health department has developed a new program.

“The biggest innovative initiative that we did during COVID was produce this program called Nalaxone Now,” said Public Health Director Mary Fran Wachunas.

Naloxone Now is a curbside delivery program for Narcan, the nasal spray that is used to treat overdoses.

“All you have to do is text Narcan to 21000, fill in all the information, and it goes to the staff at the health department. And we will actually deliver Naloxone to your home,” Wachunas said.

The number of fatal overdoses in Rensselaer County for 2020 have eclipsed the total number of overdoses from last year. The county’s seen 48 fatal overdoses this year. That’s compared to 34 for all of 2019.

“You want to help them in every degree,  but its that individual person that has to step up and say, ‘I need help right now,'” Wachunas said.

Calls for Naloxone and fentanyl test strips can be made to the health department at 518-270-2655.

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