Eight people fatally overdose on opioids since Saturday in Erie County

Posted at 3:51 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 22:58:07-04

Eight people have fatally overdosed on opioids in Erie County since Saturday, according to the county health department.

The Health Department also confirms a total of 40 overdose deaths since the beginning of the year, and suspect a total as high as 122.

The new numbers from Erie County come on the same day the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force issued a warning about a powerful, lethal batch of heroin that has been obtained in Northern Chautauqua County. Investigators say this batch may be contaminated with substances that cause it to be considerably more potent than what users have consumed in the past.

At least two people have died from heroin overdoses in Chautauqua County over the last week. The lives of several others were saved because of Naloxone.

The DOH speculates the latest overdoses have been a result of users consuming a comination of drugs, such as fentanyl and cocaine; fentanyl and heroin; and fentanyl, heroin and cocaine.

"The fentanyl that is being seen in Erie County continues to increase in potency," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. "When we see a spike in suspected overdoses as we have this past weekend, we warn the public as soon as possible that the risk of fatal overdoses has increased due to the street drugs currently in circulation."

There is help out there. 7 Eyewitness News spoke with recovering addicts who are finding help and support through the Recovery Key program. The phone number for that program is 716-390-4253.