Onondaga County Issues Warning: Increase in Overdoses Related to Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

Onondaga County Health Department Issues Warning—Increase in Overdoses Related to Cocaine and Crack Cocaine 

Extreme caution urged heading into the holiday week

ONONDAGA COUNTY, DECEMBER 15, 2023 – The Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) issued a warning on Friday, December 15, 2023 over an increase in unintentional overdoses related to the use of cocaine and crack cocaine. Over the past week, at least eleven confirmed overdoses were reported.

Across the country, and most recently in neighboring Oneida County, similar instances of cocaine and crack cocaine containing fentanyl have been reported. Situations like these are particularly dangerous because it is likely that the individuals believed they were consuming only cocaine or crack cocaine. Individuals who do not usually use an opioid or are unaware of the presence of an opioid, such as fentanyl, are more likely to suffer an overdose. Locally, overdose symptoms indicated that fentanyl was present.

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Kathryn Anderson urges residents to be vigilant. “The public needs to be aware that it is not possible to tell by looking if a product contains fentanyl. We encourage anyone who uses drugs or knows people who use drugs to learn about overdose reversal, obtain a naloxone kit, and test all​ substances if you plan on using.”

The OCHD urges those who use substances to test their drugs using fentanyl testing strips (FTS). By testing with an FTS, the person using drugs can make an informed choice about their use. Although the strips do not identify the exact amount of fentanyl present, testing can provide enough time, space, and information for a user to consider the options. You can learn how to use a fentanyl test strip here.

Naloxone and test strips can be obtained by contacting the OCHD’s Substance Use Initiatives confidential Narcan and Test Strip Request Line at 315-418-5365. Through this, naloxone and strips can be dropped off, picked up, or mailed to whoever requests them.

If you witness someone experiencing an overdose, please call 911 and administer naloxone as soon as possible.

Warning Signs of Fentanyl Overdose:

  1. Loss of consciousness
  2. Slow or shallow breathing
  3. Extreme drowsiness or difficulty waking up
  4. Inability to speak or be awakened
  5. Blue or gray lips and nails
  6. Pinpoint pupils
  7. Seizures

The Onondaga County Health Department remains committed to safeguarding the well-being of our community and will continue to monitor and address this situation and other emerging public health threats.