Agencies mobilize to combat overdoses

WATERTOWN — Jefferson County experienced five drug overdoses, one of which resulted in a fatality within Watertown’s city limits, within a 24 hour period this past weekend.

Narcotics such as fentanyl, heroin and oxycontin are suspected as the primary drugs, however other drugs or a combination of more than one could be the cause of the overdoses, according to Stephen A. Jennings, public information officer for the Jefferson County Public Health Service.

Of the five overdoses, four occurred in Watertown, with one occurring outside of the city.

“We are working very hard to alert the public regarding overdose activity in as real time as possible,” Mr. Jennings said. “We have a resource available now called ODMAP where first responders can tell us about what they’re responding to and we can take that information and alert the public.”

ODMAP stands for Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program, a web-based system into which users can enter data that can be utilized across the country.

Because Jefferson County is a federally designated High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Mr. Jennings said the Health Service and other local government agencies are eligible to use the ODMAP program. The program is for first responders to input real-time overdose data, and while not every first responder is using ODMAP at this time, the hope is that eventually every first responder will.

There have been six confirmed overdose deaths for 2019 within the county. However, beginning in October, there are an additional 11 possible overdose deaths pending toxicology confirmation — three from October, seven from November, and one from December — according to a report from the Health Service.

“We know there’s been increased activity around Utica specifically, and we can’t say for certain, but it looks like that wave is coming up here,” Mr. Jennings said. “We are going to be watching and analyzing ODMAP and are trying to get better at obtaining information and getting it out to the community.”

The Jefferson County Public Health Service, Department of Community Services, and the Alliance for Better Communities want to remind people that a number of community resources have been established and expanded to help people who have substance use disorders, and for people to access these resources to receive assistance and treatment:

Anchor Recovery Center of NNY: (315) 836-3460

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

ACR Health: (315) 785-8222

Samaritan Addiction Services: (315) 779-5060

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

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Northern Regional Center for Independent Living: (315) 785-8703 during business hours; and (315) 785-8708 nights and weekends

Mobile Crisis Jefferson County: (315) 782-2327

Hope Line: 1-877-8-HOPENY or Text 46736

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

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

According to the Health Service, more information about the situation will be forthcoming.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(4) comments


I'm guessing what happened is that the distributor in this area recently got in a new shipment that was stronger than usual. Good work on improving quality, supplier, but next time it should come with a warning.


Naloxone, studies found that laws expanding access to naloxone, the anti-opioid overdose medication, have increased opioid-related ER visits and theft while doing nothing to curb mortality.

The studies also found opioid-related deaths increased 14 percent after these laws were in effect. The studies believe that people act more recklessly when they have a safeguard in place,

Holmes -- the real one

Ah, fake "Holmes,"

Just which "studies" are these? Where are your citations??

Any study utilizing appropriate research protocol (as in say, the scientific method) would immediately identify seriously concerning confounding factors in your purported summary of the findings.

You really should look up some information on how to conduct a valid research protocol -- and begin by learning about the scientific method.

In your statement, fake "Holmes," you attempt to imply a purported increase in ER visits and theft can be attributed to the fact that naloxone is more available.

Where is the documentation related to the increase in opioid-related deaths. How does the research link findings related to # of deaths specifically to naloxone availability? How does this relate to the specific opioid involved? What form was the drug in? How was it administered? Were the strengths of the given dosages calibrated? What were the percentage of cases in which there were multiple drugs and drug forms found on toxicology screens? What were the contaminants involved?

Fake ":Holmes," have you learned in your "research" just what is the most common reason for overdose in opioid drug users?

No study "BELIEVES" a conclusion -- especially one such as you set forth here. In order to even find a correlation suggesting such a possibility, the study would need to consult users about their ideas about naloxone.

My suggestion, fake "Holmes," is that you educate yourself prior to making such wildly unfounded statements.


Studies show that Republicans spent billions of dollars on the "War on Drugs" for 40 years and now drugs are more common and more destructive than ever. Amazing how much Republicans loved this giant failure of a government program. We should listen to conservatives on drugs? Good joke!

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