Opioid deaths dropping in Erie County

Posted at 1:49 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-15 13:54:28-04

The number of opioid-related deaths in Erie County is declining, according to new numbers from the county health department.

Through last Friday, there have been 143 confirmed deaths and another 95 suspected deaths from opioid abuse in Erie County. The average number of deaths has dropped from 11 per week earlier this year to 7.5 during the past month, according to county executive Mark Poloncarz.

Of the 143 confirmed deaths, 61 percent are fentanyl-related, eight percent involved heroin, 14 percent involved heroin and fentanyl and 15 percent were prescription opioids.

"While these numbers regarding opioid deaths are distressing, I am encouraged to see the average number of deaths per week is dropping," Poloncarz said in a tweet.

The county recently launched an opioid crisis hotline. Erie County residents can call 831-7007 to talk to a live, trained counselor who can provide referral information and support for those battling drug addiction.

The hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.