There are many issues over the course of a single week that are covered here in the Hudson Valley. One issue however that has been covered extensively and will continue to be covered is the effects of the raging opioid epidemic. This scourge has gone nation wide with New York being one of the most hard hit states.

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Here in the Hudson Valley, one county has been particularly affected by the opioid crisis and that is Sullivan County. Sullivan County out of necessity has been at the front of the metaphorical line in combating the opioid crisis. Recently the Sullivan County Coroner gave an update regarding recent numbers tied to the epidemic in Sullivan County and spoke about ways in which they are continuing the fight against the issue.

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Sullivan County Opioid Epidemic Numbers

One of the best ways to gain understanding for the severity of a situation is taking a look at the numbers behind the story. Well Albee Bockman, the Sullivan County Coroner had plenty of numbers to give regarding the current state of the opioid epidemic in Sullivan County.

Bockman who is also the founder of Mobilemedic EMS spoke to legislators recently at the Sullivan County Public Safety and Law Enforcement Committee. He spoke about how in 2020 Mobilemedic responded to 242 different calls for overdoses from 911 dispatchers. Out of those 242, 100 were for opioid overdoses and then from that 100, only 28 were taken to the hospital for treatment.

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In comparison, numbers from 2022 show that 45 people died due to opioid overdoses and that in the first three months of 2023, Sullivan County has seen 11 overdose deaths, 4 of those 11 have occured in the last month. The question then is what is the main factor in these deaths. Well the answer is fentanyl. This was confirmed by Bockman who stated that when reviewing the toxicology reports for these individuals shows that fentanyl was a 'component' in their passing.

Check This Out: Sullivan County's Push for Support Fighting Opioid Epidemic

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Bockmon also cautioned that now new cautions are coming to light with warnings for 'over the counter medications' that in some cases have been laced with fentanyl. In addition, Bockman also recognized the newer danger of xylazine being found in some of these overdose cases. Xylazine is a new battle because it can not be countered with Narcan, which is drug administered to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

NYC Pharmacies Begins Selling Opioid Overdose Antidote Naloxone Over The Counter
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What is a Solution to Get Ahead of the Opioid Problem?

During his speaking time Bockman lamented at some frustrations in dealing with so many overdoses cases and victims. That main frustration was the fact that as EMS, they do not have the ability to force individuals to get help. Essentially what Bockman and his people can do after treating an individual is limited. They do have information that they can distribute to individuals but if they are told 'no' then that's it, nothing more can be done.

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Mr. Bockman does however have an idea to help get in front on this aspect of the overall problem though. He acknowledged this idea after being questioned by the chair of the Health and Family Services Committee, Legislator Nadia Rajsz. Rajsz question was in regards to 'how do we help these individuals on the ground level'? To which Bockman suggested...

a type of county mobile health unit that would come to the

scene and counsel the individuals right then and there.


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In response, Legislator Rajsz would state that thanks to money the county has received from opioid settlements, it would be possible to look into starting a program in line with Mr. Bockman's idea.

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