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.
What is the 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.
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