31 possible overdose deaths in 2021 in Jefferson County

News release

WATERTOWN, NY —  Jefferson County, NY is continuing to experience heightened overdose activity from substance use. There have been 26 confirmed overdose deaths for 2021 with an additional 5 possible overdose deaths pending toxicology confirmation.

Excessive stress during the holidays can trigger a number of behavioral patterns for some people, and can be a particularly vulnerable time for those struggling with substance use.

The Jefferson County Public Health Service, Jefferson 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

Resources are available to help people who have substance use disorders. People can access these resources to receive assistance and initiate treatment:

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 pleased to provide Harm Reduction Kits to interested individuals and families. These kits contain Deterra, a drug deactivation system that is plant-based, green, 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 simply register whether or not deadly fentanyl is present in any other drug or substance. Knowing that information could easily save a life. Also, another important part of these kits is a “Resources for Addiction Recovery” card. It lists agencies and services with phone numbers for anyone who is in crisis, needs help in the future, or is just looking for information. It also explains the New York State 911 Good Samaritan Law. The Alliance is working to make Harm Reduction Kits available community wide. Anyone can also call the Alliance for Better Communities at (315) 788-4660 to obtain a kit directly. Additionally, the Jefferson County Sherriff’s deputies, and the Watertown City Police Department have kits available on all cruisers. If the Alliance happens to be closed,waive down a Jefferson County Sheriff or Watertown City Police Department cruiser, and the officer will provide you a Harm Reduction Kit with fentanyl test strips, no questions asked.

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

Jefferson County Public Health encourages everyone to dispose of unneeded prescription medications. It is important that medicines are disposed of properly 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 Dr, Watertown, NY 13601; Open Monday – Friday: 8am – 4pm Note: All items should be placed in a plastic bag and cannot contain needles, creams, epi-pens or liquid medications. Accepts all drugs.

Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic, 11050 Mt Belvedere Blvd, Fort Drum, NY 13602. Accepts all drugs.

US Army Conner Troop Medical Clinic, Euphrates River Valley Rd, Fort Drum, NY 13602. Accepts all drugs.

Kinney Drugs, All locations, Medication Collection Day – the last Saturday of every month. Does not controlled prescription (Oxycontin, Percoset and Hydrocodone).

Contributors: Cecilia A. Wirth, Jefferson County Public Health Service MPH Intern, Benedictine University
= Timothy J. Ruetten, Director, Jefferson County Department of Community Services Anita Seefried-Brown, Director, Alliance for Better Communities