An overdose spike alert has been issued regarding several overdoses in Oneida County, meaning there are street drugs circulating the area that are laced with fentanyl.

County officials say there were nine overdoses in the county over the last week, including in Utica, Rome and New Hartford - and of those, two were fatal. Officials say the overdoses likely involved a combination of drugs like heroin, cocaine and other substances that were mixed with or laced with fentanyl.

The incidents occurred between November 22 and 26. The two fatalities occurred on November 22 and 23, officials said, adding that in both incidents that resulted in death Naloxone (Narcan) was not readily available to reverse the deadly effects. However, officials said in the other seven incidents, the life-saving medicine was administered and did revive the victims.

“The drug-risk environment is rapidly changing with the increasing combination of fentanyl with cocaine and methamphetamine being the leading cause of drug-related deaths in Oneida County so far this year,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said in a statement issuing the overdose alert. “This is not only an increased risk for people who chronically use prescription or illicit opioids like heroin or fentanyl, but can in just one instance, take the life of a person that is opioid naive and unwittingly exposed to fentanyl in cocaine, methamphetamine, synthetic marijuana or counterfeit pills.”

County officials are also sharing an anonymous and confidential hotline called 'Never Use Alone'. Health officials say using drugs alone can be very dangerous as a user is who is overdosing becomes unconscious and is unable to call for help.

"It helps reduce this risk through having someone available over the phone who can help establish a safety plan and send medical help if needed. The Never Use Alone hotline can be reached at 1-800-484-3731," the county's Overdose Response Team explained in a statement. They are also reminding everyone of so called Good Samaritan laws that offer legal protection to those to call 911 to alert authorities of a drug overdose.

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