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Local overdoses continue to climb

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Cortland City Police continue to warn about a spike in opioid overdoses in the community, responding to another four calls since their last release on September 17. (click here for more)

At that time, officers reported 15 such calls in 45 days, an increase from just five total the entire month prior.

In the ten days since, four additional cases have required the use of Narcan — two resulted in death.

“This is a particularly dangerous time for those suffering with addiction,” said Detective Lt. Michael Strangeway. “Help is available for those who ask for it. The City Police and other local entities are here to help people take advantage of those services that will best suit their individual needs.”

A particular disturbing sign is the discovery of commercially stamped wax bags at several of these scenes, such as those pictured.

Investigators say these typically contain heroin and other common opiates, but worry they originated from large Drug Traffic Organizations (DTO) based in metropolitan areas like NYC/ NJ, Philadelphia and Chicago that often cut their drugs with cheaper, more dangerous synthetics like Fentanyl or Brorphine to increase profits.

Lt. Strangeway explained that during an interview with a local man who’s dating a heroin user, he claimed his girlfriend had “died” on five separate occasions of an overdose.

“The man told us she had been ‘brought back’ by him each time through the personal use of Narcan,” said Strangeway. “He also claimed only one of those potentially fatal overdoses was reported to police or medical personnel — and that this is typical of what he is seeing and hearing among local users.”

Cortland County is now part of a four-state HEALing Communities study aimed at reducing the rate of opioid overdose deaths by 40% over three years.

That initiative is funded by the National Institute of Health and brings together several local organizations already working to serve residents for a collaborative effort to make an impact.

For more on the HEALing Communities study, listen to an in-depth discussion featuring members of the leadership board by clicking here.

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