Onondaga County’s first quarter drug overdose numbers show fentanyl is widespread

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ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. — At 156, Onondaga County saw a record number of overdose deaths in 2020. There is a clearer understanding of the issue for the first quarter of this year, which is January through March of 2021.

“There were 47 deaths in that time period related to opioid overdose,” explained Mariah Senecal-Reilly who is the Mental Health and Substance Use Initiatives Program Coordinator for the Onondaga County Health Department.

An overwhelming majority of those were related to fentanyl.

“It is very widespread. It’s present in methamphetamines, it is present in cocaine, any substance, almost any substance that someone encounters has a risk of having fentanyl in it which is a synthetic opioid.”

Mental Health and Substance Use Initiatives Program Coordinator Mariah Senecal-Reilly

Behind every number is a name. The loss can take a toll on families. Ellen Earley knows that first hand.
September will mark three years since her daughter Saige died of an overdose.

“It does take a toll when you’re watching somebody you love so much struggle,” Earley said. “So, in Saige’s particular case she struggled so hard for her sobriety. She really fought for it. She left behind her son, so now I’m raising her son.”

For anyone experiencing this, earley offers this advice, “It’s nobody’s fault, but it’s everybody’s responsibility. If you can get a narcan kit and training that’s a great thing to have and if you see somebody that’s struggling or in crisis help them,” Earley said.

Anything the community does can help make sure another name doesn’t become a statistic.

If you’re interested in being trained by the Onondaga County Health Department to administer naloxone, please send an email to: NaloxoneTraining@Ongov.net or call (315) 435-3280.

Ellen Earley said you can also reach out to her for support. You can email her at sparklingbytheway@gmail.com

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