Tioga County issues warning about a spike in drug overdoses

In a press release issued last week, Tioga County Public Health warned area residents of a spike in drug overdoses in Tioga County, New York between Jan. 30, 2024 and Feb. 2, 2024. According to the release, the reported overdoses were all non-fatal, and Narcan was administered to each individual. 

While it is unknown if the overdoses are related, the suspected drug causing the overdoses was heroin. The public is warned about the possibility of a substance laced with a potent opioid in our area.  

Overdose deaths frequently involve fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin, and often unknowingly mixed in with other substances. Tioga County Public Health recommends that family members, caregivers, and people who spend time with those who have a substance use disorder know the signs of an opioid overdose.

Warning signs include cold, clammy skin, difficulty waking or speaking, slow or no heart rate, slow or no breathing, limp body, pinpoint pupils, gurgling or choking sounds, and blue or purplish lips or fingernails. 

Call 911 immediately if these symptoms of an overdose are present. 

An opioid overdose can be reversed by using the medication Narcan, also known as Naloxone, and when administered in time. Due to Tioga County’s large geographic makeup, first responders may not make it to a scene in time to reverse an overdose. Keeping Narcan on hand can greatly increase the chance of survival should an opioid overdose be occurring. Narcan is not addictive and does not cause harm if administered during another medical emergency.  

Narcan nasal spray is free and available through the following agencies in Tioga County: Tioga County Public Health, 1062 State Route 38, Owego, phone: (607) 687-8612; Tioga County Mental Hygiene, 1062 State Route 38, Owego, phone: (607) 687-0200; or CASA-Trinity, 72 North Ave., Owego, phone: (607) 223-4066.

Narcan is also available through Public Access Narcan Boxes around the county and through many pharmacies. To find additional locations in New York State where Narcan may be accessed, visit https://providerdirectory.aidsinstituteny.org/.

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