Three counties experience spike in overdoses amid coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 10:17 PM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-11 09:57:19-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Three counties in Western New York have seen a spike in overdoses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's a huge stresser for all of us, especially those in recovery," said John Bennett, an addiction specialist, "For someone who is an addict, their method to deal with these things is to use unfortunately in these cases."

Erie County (according to the U.S. Attorney's office)

  • 110 overdoses since March 10, 2020
  • 1/3 of those overdoses were deadly

Chautauqua County (according to the Chautauqua County Department of Health)

  • 45 overdoses in March
  • 2 of those overdoses were deadly
  • Average of 19 overdoses per month in 2019

Niagara County (according to the Niagara County's Sheriff's Office)

  • Number of drug overdose cases they have been dispatched to from January 1st to April 6th has increased over 35% compared to 2019.

"Stress and anxiety right now is at an all time high. The fear of the unknown is at an all time high. Not knowing if you're going to be able to make ends meet, and we don't know when this is going to end," Bennett said.

Bennett said there are some tell-take signs if someone in your life is using.

"People selling off their valuables is a big one. Stealing. If they're constantly talking and all of a sudden they're not answering or responding to you. If you think something is up, chances are something is up," Bennett said.

If you find yourself in that situation, Bennett said have a conversation.

"Talk with them. You might be their life line. You might be who's able to support them the most right now," said Bennett.

The Erie County Department of Health will be distributing narcan kits at the Broadway Market in the booth between Lupas Meats and the Seafood Store from 8:30am until noon.

If you know someone currently abusing drugs or are struggling yourself, call these crisis hotlines for help:

Erie County Crisis Services Hotline 716-834-3131
Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline 800-724-0461
Niagara County Crisis Services Hotline 716-285-3515