Oneida County Overdose Response Team Issues Tainted Drug Warning - Two Suspected Tainted Cocaine Deaths in Less Than 24 hours

The Oneida County Overdose Response Team is issuing a warning to the community regarding two cocaine-related fatalities that occurred in the City of Utica yesterday in less than a 24-hour period. The circumstances surrounding these two deaths lead officials to believe that cocaine laced with fentanyl may be involved in the fatalities. Official results will not be confirmed until toxicology reports are completed.

“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”, said Oneida County Director of Health, Daniel Gilmore.

Reports of cocaine and fentanyl-related deaths is rising across the country. In Oneida County, six of the drug-related toxicology reports completed so far detected a combination of both cocaine and fentanyl. The Overdose Response Team is encouraging community partners, treatment providers, support groups, first responders, and families and friends of people who use drugs to inform people who use cocaine and other non-opioid street drugs of this dangerous trend and to direct them to providers who can teach them how to reduce risk of fatal overdose.

Most local treatment providers can provide individuals with Narcan kits, fentanyl test strips, other harm reduction education, and resources and help them get linked to support when they’re ready. The drug environment has changed and people who use drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines, and other non-opioid drugs must start taking the same overdose precautions that are given to people who use opioids like heroin.

The public can call 2-1-1 or ACR Health at 315-793-0661 for connection to local providers for harm reduction resources.