Alexis Pleus, with the advocacy group Truth Pharm, said it is a pandemic colliding with an epidemic.
“A lot of mental health issues lead to substance use, and increased substance use, and those are often feelings of depression; feeling despondent, feeling alone, being isolated,” said Pleus. “And now we have a pandemic that is increasing all of those things.”
She added there is an increase in those emotions when a person’s basic needs are not being met.
Earlier this week, Broome County Health Department officials reported an increase in non-fatal overdoses over a few days.
Truth Pharm saw an increase in fatal opioid related overdoses as well. Pleus said a lot of those overdoses involve meth, which is not an opioid, but can be laced with fentanyl.
“Fentanyl has infiltrated that supply, it seems, locally, and so people are having overdose from meth use, but they’re having fentanyl overdoses,” Pleus explained.
Truth Pharm along with the Addiction Center of Broome County, Helio Health and the Southern Tier Aids Program are offering virtual Narcan training. Narcan can help reverse the effects of an overdose.
Pleus said anyone can get a Narcan kit and the training takes 10-15 minutes.