ECDOH: 9 deaths with suspected cocaine & fentanyl involvement in past week prompts stark warning
Submitted by the Erie County Department of Health
Following nine suspected Erie County resident deaths in the past week with suspected cocaine and fentanyl involvement, the Erie County Department of Health is sharing a stark warning with local residents: Don’t trust your cocaine.
The local supply of cocaine generally contains fentanyl, a potent opioid. Individuals who use cocaine that contains fentanyl are hit with the “high” of the cocaine, and the “low” of the fentanyl. The effects can stop or slow breathing, and stop the heart, leading to death.
“The main message that we want to share is that we need to keep people alive,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “As we see all too often with opioid overdose deaths, cocaine and fentanyl are a deadly combination. People should never use any drug alone, and always have Narcan on hand just in case of an overdose.”
Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force Director Cheryll Moore said, “To have overdose scenes where a person, or multiple people, die when a dose of Narcan could have saved their lives – these are heartbreaking situations. Families and loved ones live with that pain, but we continue to transform that pain into progress with our task force activities.”
The work of the Erie County Opiate Epidemic Task Force is rooted in harm reduction. Harm reduction tools include:
√ Narcan (naloxone): Carry Narcan and know how and when to use it. Find local trainings at www.erie.gov/opioidtrainings,
√ Text for Narcan: Text 716-225-5473 to receive Narcan by mail for free. The only question we ask is what address to use for mailing.
√ Never use alone: Have someone with you who can use Narcan if you overdose. Or contact the “Never Use Alone” service (neverusealone.com or 800-484-3731).
√ Test before use: Use fentanyl test strips on any drug (cocaine, marijuana) before use.
√ Connect with care: Support and resources are available, from immediate access to buprenorphine through NY Matters at local emergency rooms, to the Buffalo & Erie County addiction hotline at 716-831-7007.