HUDSON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to the Columbia County Department of Health (DOH), non-fatal overdoses have increased by 55% and fatal overdoses by 150% in the first quarter of 2021. That’s compared to the same time period in 2019.

The DOH says the year’s increase in overdoses has been particularly pronounced in the last several weeks. There have been 36 suspected overdoses in the county since January, compared to 22 in the first quarter of 2020. That 64% increase includes 31 non-fatal overdoses (that’s the 55% figure) and 5 fatal ones (150%).

DOH attributes the uptick to the COVID pandemic, which has disrupted the standard operating procedures of health and human services agencies on top of disturbing individual lives. Officials also report that the drug supply is increasingly contaminated with fentanyl and other substances that increase the risk of fatal overdose.

Even in small amounts, fentanyl can be fatal. DOH says it’s found in cocaine and other substances besides opiates. They say that drug users should always assume their supply is contaminated and take precautions to minimize the risk of overdose:

  • Use small amounts
  • Seek help for your addiction
  • Keep Narcan on-hand
  • Check-in with friends and loved ones
  • Do not use alone—call the Never Use Alone Hotline (800) 997-2280 any time
  • Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know overdoses

Text NARCANKIT to 21000 and an advocate from Greener Pathways ((518) 291-4500) can supply you with Narcan, a potentially life-saving drug that can reverse an overdose.