MAYVILLE, N.Y.: --Officials from Chautauqua County’s Department of Mental Hygiene and Department of Health and Human Services today released data on rates of overdoses and overdose deaths in the county in 2020. Consistent with trends across New York State and the nation, non-fatal overdoses rose dramatically in Chautauqua County in 2020. Overdose fatalities also increased, but at a much lower rate than the rise in non-fatal overdoses, an outcome county officials attribute to effective harm reduction, emergency, and treatment efforts undertaken during the pandemic.
“Every death related to this pandemic, whether directly or indirectly, is tragic,” said Pat Brinkman, Chautauqua County Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services. “Reports from our region and the nation are revealing the toll the pandemic has had – on physical health, certainly, but also on emotional health and on substance use. While Chautauqua County has not been immune to these trends, we are extremely grateful for the life-saving efforts of individuals and agencies in our county who have helped address addiction throughout this difficult time. As a result of their work, lives have been saved.”
Data from the Overdose Detection and Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) system, a public health monitoring tool used to alert communities to changing overdose patterns, indicates that Chautauqua County experienced a 54% increase in non-fatal overdoses from 2019 to 2020. Over the same time frame, overdose fatalities rose 18%, from 33 in 2019 to 39 in 2020. In contrast, media reports indicate that Erie County (NY) experienced a 49% increase in opioid related overdose deaths in 2020, and Niagara County’s overdose deaths more than doubled.
“One overdose death is one too many,” said Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County public health director. “The efforts of our many partners throughout the county has kept an increase in fatalities from being even worse. This data reveals that emergency, harm reduction, treatment, and outreach efforts, all undertaken in the midst of a pandemic, are helping. We plan to continue working with partners throughout the county to build on these efforts to help more county residents who are battling addiction.”
The Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene reminds residents that help for individuals struggling with addiction is available right here in Chautauqua County. Visit CombatAddictionCHQ.com/find-help for contact information of the services you or a loved one may need.
Another resource is the Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline (1-800-724-0461) which is staffed by behavioral health professionals providing free confidential assistance, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.