PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT: Spike in Overdoses in Onondaga County

March 31, 2023 | Onondaga County, NY —  The Onondaga County Health Department (OCHD) reports that approximately 40 suspected overdoses occurred in about a 48-hour period between March 29 and March 31, 2023. The warning comes after reports in the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) show a concentration in the North and West sides of the city of Syracuse, with sporadic events in the Liverpool and Brewerton areas. Reports link some occurrences to drugs sold in wax bags with a blue teddy bear stamped on them.

The OCHD reminds those who use substances to test their drugs using fentanyl testing strips (FTS). By testing with a FTS, the person using drugs can make an informed choice about their use, by potentially choosing to use a different batch, use less of the current batch, use in the presence of others, and make sure naloxone is on hand. 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.

If you or someone you know needs fentanyl test strips or naloxone, call or text OCHD’s confidential Narcan and Test Strip Request Line at 315-418-5365. Learn more about opioids and overdose prevention here.

Going forward, OCHD will be providing Public Health Alerts when there is a spike in overdoses where specific information is available to help prevent these occurrences.