By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
CATSKILL — An overdose spike alert was issued in Greene County on Sunday.
An alert is issued when a number of overdoses occur within a 24-hour period, according to a statement from Greener Pathways, the mobile outreach program of Twin County Recovery Services Inc.
Individuals who use drugs are urged to be vigilant about what they consume.
“This could be indicative of a contaminated drug supply,” according to Greener Pathways. “Overdoses have occurred in the past for people using crack, cocaine and other substances beside opiates, including pressed pills that are made to look like a genuine pill but contain deadly fentanyl instead.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, and is a major contributor to fatal and non-fatal overdoses nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fentanyl has been found in powder cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA, counterfeit Xanax, heroin, and other pills and powders, according to the New York State Department of Health website.
If people do use drugs, they are urged to seek help for their addiction or use safely by using less, according to Greener Pathways.
The organization also provides fentanyl test strips free of charge to individuals who are in active addiction. The strips can identify whether a drug supply is contaminated with fentanyl. Text TESTSTRIPS to 77948 to receive free fentanyl test strips in Greene or Columbia counties.
Those in active addiction are also advised not to use drugs alone and to have access to naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. Free Narcan can be obtained by texting NARCANKIT to 21000.
Help from drug addiction is available by calling Greener Pathways at 518-291-4500 or via text at 518-822-7437. Always call 911 if there is an emergency.
The spike alert does not apply to opiates or other medications obtained from a pharmacy.