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WATERTOWN — As the year draws to a close, there have been 26 confirmed overdose deaths in Jefferson County in 2021, with another five possible overdose deaths pending toxicology confirmation.

Jefferson County Public Health warns, as the county continues to experience heightened overdose activity from substance use, excessive stress during the holidays can trigger a number of behavioral patterns for some people. This can be a particularly vulnerable time for those struggling with substance use.

The Jefferson County Public Health Service, county Department of Community Services, and the Alliance for Better Communities are all concerned about substance use and overdoses during the holiday period, and want to ensure that everyone in the community knows that there are resources available to help.

The agencies issued a press release with assistance options:

— Anchor Recovery Center of NNY: 315-836-3460

— Credo Community Center for Treatment of Addictions: 315-788-1530

— NRCIL Recovery WarmLine: 315-755-8408

— Mobile Crisis Jefferson County: 315-782-2327 or 315-777-9681

— Samaritan Addiction Services: 315-779-5060

— Samaritan Medical Center Social Worker on Call: 315-785-4516

— Northern Regional Center for Independent Living: 315-785-8703 business hours, and 315-785-8708 nights and weekends

— Hope Line: 1-877-8-HOPENY or text 467369

— ACR Health: 315-785-8222

— Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

The public is also reminded of New York State’s 911 Good Samaritan Law, which allows people to call 911 without fear of arrest if they are having a drug or alcohol overdose that requires emergency medical care or if they witness someone overdosing.

The Alliance for Better Communities is also able to provide Harm Reduction Kits to interested individuals and families, which contain Deterra, a drug deactivation system that is plant-based and easy to use. It allows someone to dispose of dangerous drugs, even legal prescriptions, so they do not unintentionally fall into the hands of another.

The kit contains gloves, a small medical kit and fentanyl test strips. Rapid Response Fentanyl Test Strips register whether deadly fentanyl is present in any other drug or substance, as knowing that information could easily save a life. The kits also contain a “Resources for Addiction Recovery” card that lists agencies and services with phone numbers for anyone who is in crisis, needs help in the future, or is just looking for information.

The Alliance is working to make these Harm Reduction Kits available community wide, and anyone can also call the Alliance for Better Communities at 315-788-4660 to obtain a kit directly.

Additionally, Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies and the Watertown City Police Department have kits available on all cruisers. If flagged down and asked, they will provide Harm Reduction Kits with fentanyl test strips, no questions asked, according to the release.

To receive Naloxone training and free kits, community members can contact Credo, ACR Health, or the Anchor Recovery Center of NNY.

Public Health also encourages everyone to dispose of unneeded prescription medications as they can contribute to substance abuse issues, along with harming the environment. In Jefferson County, pharmaceutical waste can be disposed of at:

— Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, 753 Waterman Drive, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. All items should be placed in a plastic bag and cannot contain needles, creams, EpiPens or liquid medications. Accepts all drugs.

— Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic, 11050 Mt. Belvedere Boulevard, Fort Drum. Accepts all drugs.

— U.S. Army Conner Troop Medical Clinic, Euphrates River Valley Road, Fort Drum. Accepts all drugs

— Kinney Drugs, all locations, during Medication Collection Day — the last Saturday of every month. Kinney does not accept controlled prescriptions such as Oxycontin, Percocet and Hydrocodone.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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