Health officials warn Fentanyl-laced marijuana and cocaine circulating; 8 overdoses reported in 24 hours in SLC
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
Eight overdoses, including one fatal, occurred within a 24-hour period this week in St. Lawrence County.
The staggering number of overdoses is a growing concern here as the overdoses were from cocaine and marijuana laced with fentanyl. In recent weeks St. Lawrence County Public Health Officials warned of a rapid climb in overdoses as well, which prompted a column from North Country This Week.Health officials say three to five doses of Narcan were administered on several individuals and that there remains a possibility of more overdoses that have not yet been reported.
“Individuals using drugs, including but not limited to marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, must understand that no drug is safe and any drug could contain lethal amounts of Fentanyl and Xylazine,” health officials said.
Following a pair of arrests in the North Country, New York State Police are cautioning the public not to purchase pharmaceuticals from illegitimate sources.
Troopers said that although tablets are the same shape, color, and share the same imprint as regulated prescription medications, imitation pills are indistinguishable and have been found to contain substances, some being synthetic opiates.
Police said the synthetic opiates are far more potent than fentanyl and have contributed to overdose deaths, though they may not currently be illegal in New York State.
Troopers said they arrested Nicholville and Hogansburg residents earlier this month related to imitation pills.
Conrad L. Phillips, 52, Hogansburg, was charged with one count of possession of imitation controlled substances with intent to sell and possession of a police receiver after being found to be in possession of imitation Oxycodone tablets at Tractor Supply in Malone, police said.
He was also charged with an additional count possession of an imitation controlled substance with intent to sell for an incident occurring on Sept. 26, 2022, in Bombay, where he was also found to be in possession of imitation Oxycodone tablets with the intent to sell them.
Nakita M. Thomas, 30, Nicholville, was charged with one count of possession of imitation controlled substances with intent to sell after being found to be in possession of imitation Oxycodone tablets at the Tractor Supply in Malone, officers said Thomas was also charged with an additional count possession of an imitation controlled substances with intent to sell for an incident occurring on Sept. 26, 2022, in Bombay, police said.
Narcan is a drug that can help prevent death from overdoses if administered in time. Public health officials say having Narcan available and administering it is critical when someone has overdosed.
Fentanyl and Xylazine are often mixed with other drugs and multiple doses of Narcan may be necessary to prevent death.
“Everyone is urged to get trained to use Narcan. Narcan is a life-saving medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Narcan is available for free,” officials said.
Anyone in need of Narcan or Fentanyl test strips, please contact St. Lawrence County Addiction Services for a free Narcan kit and brief training at (315) 386-2189 or email [email protected].
Narcan can begin to reverse an opioid overdose until EMS arrives. St. Lawrence County encourages people who use drugs to take preventative measures, such as having naloxone on hand, testing any drug for Fentanyl before using, not using alone, and calling 911 if they suspect an overdose.
If Narcan is admitted outside of a medical setting, it is strongly recommended that the individual seek immediate medical attention for their safety.
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 St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, St. Lawrence County Public Health, St. Lawrence County Addiction Services, St. Lawrence County Emergency Services, and Partners for Substance Use Prevention reminds people of the resources available to assist those who have substance use disorders with treatment and recovery:
● St. Lawrence County Addiction Services: (315) 386-2189
● The Valley Recovery Center: (315) 541-3057
● St. Lawrence Health: (315) 261-5395
● Claxton Hepburn Medical Center: (315) 713-5169
● Citizen Advocates: (315) 713-9090
● Community Health Center of the North Country Road to Recovery Program:
● Reachout of St. Lawrence County, Inc.: (315) 265-2422
● NYS HOPEline: 1-877-846-7369 or text 467369
● Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
For additional resources, please visit: