Ulster County sees large spike in fentanyl overdoses in 2020

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KINGSTON, N.Y. (NEWS10)–Opioid-related deaths in Ulster County have shot up 171% from January to July compared to the same time period in 2019, according to Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. In 2018 fentanyl-related overdoses accounted for 58% of all opioid-related deaths to now in 2020, 89% of all opioid-related deaths in Ulster County. This spike caused Executive Ryan to declare a health emergency in the county Monday.

Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin according the Ulster COunty Executive Pat Ryan.

County Executive Ryan said, “We’ve seen the tragic and lethal impacts of fentanyl right here in our own community leading to 34 deaths already this year. I’m declaring this Public Health Emergency to make sure we have all hands on deck, working together, to combat this deadly drug. This is an issue that I take extremely seriously, and we will continue to work with our many partners to continue to raise awareness and work to save lives.”

The Ulster County’s Healing Communities Study (HEAL) team is partnering with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department to create a spike alert plan. The goal is to give real-time updates to treatment providers when there is a spike of three or more fatal or non-fatal overdoses in a 24 hour period.

The Ulster County Sheriff’s department O.R.A.C.L.E trailer.

Ryan said they had built a great support network in Ulster County. One great resource is the Sheriff’s department’s Opioid Response As County Law Enforcement (O.R.A.C.L.E.) program. This team of trained professionals from across the county that you can anonymously reach out to will help with counseling for addicts and family members in a low-threatening, no-questioning environment.

Another recent resource developed during the coronavirus outbreak is the Recovery Service Center, County Executive Ryan said. The center helps deal with homelessness, addiction, food need, or mental health issues. Ryan said to access the help, no questions asked, call 845-443-8888.

If you or a loved one wants help, reach out, there are numerous programs on a state and local level waiting for you.

Ulster County keeps a continuously updated list of treatment and recovery programs in and around the county.

New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports offers help to those who want it, also.

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