Erie County Health Dept. warns of spike in deaths from fentanyl-laced cocaine

Local News

The Erie County Department of Health announced a spike in fentanyl-related cocaine deaths in Erie County.

The total number of cocaine related deaths in 2018 was 85 and 72 in 2016. When it comes to fentanyl-related cocaine deaths, 40 percent were fentanyl related in 2018, compared to 23 percent in  2016.

“The problem is that people may not know that what they’re buying, what they believe is cocaine could have fentanyl in it,” said Gale Burstein, county commissioner of health. “So they’re probably not expecting it. They’re probably not prepared with Narcan on site.”

Burstein says there’s been a rise in the presence of fentanyl in the region’s cocaine supply.

I know that people think of cocaine as a party drug, and they don’t really think about the risks,” she said.


But, it’s not all bad news. There’s an overall reduction in the numbers of opioid related deaths in the county. According to the county’s data in 2016 there were 301 deaths and just last year there were 186 opioid related deaths.

Resources

  • Erie County Addiction Hotline 716-831-7007
  • www2.erie.gov/addictionhotline
  • www.oasas.ny.gov
  • www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse

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