Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition
Rensselaer County has not been spared from the current opioid crisis that has been devastating the country. Since 2012, Rensselaer County has lost 169 individuals to overdoses (as of December 31, 2019). With the increase of opioid-related deaths identified in our County, the County Executive felt it was imperative to address this public health crisis with the formation of the Rensselaer County Heroin Coalition in March of 2016.
With the assistance and leadership from the Sheriff and the Public Health Director as co-chairs, the coalition has met routinely and participated in many community wide events. At every meeting, we invite guest speakers to share their expertise in topics that allow the members to gain knowledge, ask questions and network. We also have guest speakers who share their personal experience with addiction, recovery and overdose.
The Coalition has five sub-groups that meet during breakout sessions to develop ideas and proposals within their realm of expertise and interest. They include:
- Community Education
- Law Enforcement
- Treatment and Harm Reduction
The coalition is comprised of County departments such as:
- County Executive's Office
- Department of Youth
- District Attorney's Office
- Employment and Training
- Health Department
- Mental Health
- Public Defender
- Public Safety
- Social Services
Some of the outside participating organizations are the:
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Hudson Valley Community College
- Law enforcement agencies
- Addiction and recovery centers
- School districts
- Shelters in our community
- NY State Senate
- Russell Sage
- Unity House
There are also participants who are members of the local community in recovery, or who have lost loved ones. The opioid crisis does not discriminate in whose life it reaches, which is demonstrated through the diverse membership of the Heroin Coalition.
COVID-19 has had a significant impact the number of both fatal and non fatal overdoses within Rensselaer County. In the first 6 months of 2020, we have lost 36 individuals, a greater loss than we experienced in all of 2019. 28 of these suspected overdoses occurred between March 16, 2020 (the start of COVID-19 in our County) and June 30th.
Despite concerns for contracting the virus, Emergency Department visits for overdose treatment at Samaritan increased in this time frame compared to the corresponding months in years prior. We have also been made aware of an increase in requests for the replenishment of Naloxone kits used by community members who are hesitant to enter hospitals during this time.
Naloxone Now Program
In response to the COVID-19 social restrictions, the Rensselaer County Health Department implemented a no-contact curbside Naloxone delivery program called Naloxone Now. County residents can text the word "NARCAN" to 21000 to arrange for Naloxone to be delivered to their doorstep. The accompanying Narcan training is provided via telephone to minimize contact between staff and the residents.
Fentanyl test strips were also made available to residents through Naloxone Now after an overnight spike in overdoses associated with laced crack cocaine on May 20, 2020.
Education Material on Recovery
Permanent Drop-off Boxes
- Nassau Pharmacy, located at:
3541 U.S. Highway 20
Nassau, NY 12123
- North Greenbush Police Department, located at:
133 Bloomingrove Drive
Troy, NY 12180
- Young's Pharmacy: Averill Park
Sharp Disposal Sites
- Heroin Coalition Community Partners (PDF)
- Nopiates Committee
- "Not In My Backyard" (Schodack area)
- RADAR Coalition
- TRACs (Berlin area)
- Troy Drug Free Community Coalition
Rensselaer County Drug Tip Line
- Phone: 518-270-0128
- Rensselaer County Sheriff