New Erie County health department warning: Don’t trust your cocaine

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Take a drive through parts of Erie County and you’ll see new billboards with a new health warning “Don’t Trust Your Cocaine.”

The “Don’t Trust Your Cocaine” billboards, are a part of a new federal-funded campaign launched by the Erie County Health Department.

The billboards warn that the deadly substance fentanyl, could be mixed with the drug, causing people to overdose and die.

According to the Erie County Health Department the number of opioid related deaths, where traces of cocaine were found, has been on the rise.

In 2019, so far, 40 percent of opioid-related deaths had cocaine present That’s up from 37 percent last year, 30 percent in 2017, and 22.5 percent in 2016.

“So, we’re really trying to get ahead of this and save lives,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein. “This informational campaign is really intended to warn people about the risk that they could possibly incur unknowingly.”

The billboards also recommend that users carry Narcan with them. Narcan is is a substance used to counter the effects of an opiod overdose.

Burstein says, narcan can be obtained from any pharmacist, without a prescription.

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