The Oneida County Overdose Response Team is warning the public of potentially dangerous and tainted cocaine in the City of Utica that is believed to have killed two people. While cocaine is always dangerous, these two particular fatalities are especially alarming.

Officials with Oneida County say the two overdoses occurred within a 24 hour time period. Daniel Gilmore of the Oneida County Health Department says,

Two deaths in such a short-period of time is alarming and warrants a warning to the public as we see these type of incidents increasing locally and nationally. It is clear that the street-drug market is changing and drug dealers are using cheaper products like fentanyl to increase their supplies. If you or someone you love uses cocaine, you now must assume the product being used is contaminated with fentanyl.

That is a strong statement from Oneida County health officials as we have seen reports of tainted cocaine across the county for months now. Several people overdosed in Camden and Sylvan Beach in the month of August. Officials with Oneida County say that six of the drug-related toxicology reports on deceased individuals came up positive for a combination of cocaine and fentanyl. Several community members are stepping up to do whatever they can to continue to help those who may have an addiction or regularly use cocaine to find help. This is being done in effort to prevent overdose deaths.

Oneida County officials are reminding the public that Narcan kits are readily available and treatment options are always available. Oneida County officials say,

The drug environment has changed and people who use drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and other non-opioid drugs must start taking the same overdose precautions that are given to people who use opioids like heroin.

For help, the public can call 2-1-1 or contact ACR Health at 315-793-0661 for connection to local providers for harm reduction resources.

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