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State Of Emergency Enters Third Week As Overdose Deaths Plague Broome County


BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) - Broome County executive, Jason Garnar declared a state of emergency March 27 after 10 overdose deaths related to fentanyl occurred in 10 days.

Over the last two weeks, Garnar has conducted a meeting every morning at 11 o'clock with representatives from all county departments.

Until March, they thought the county was making progress in its campaign to reduce overdose deaths. They had dropped by half between 2017 and 2018. 

Then within 10 days 10 people died from overdoses linked to fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid often mixed with heroin. More recently, law enforcement is finding it mixed with other drugs, like cocaine and crystal meth.

"Basically," Garnar said, "if you overdose on fentanyl, you’re probably not gonna get revived even if someone tries to. It’s a death sentence. It’s very concerning."

That is a big part of the reason Garnar declared the state of emergency.

The declaration means he can order faster toxicology tests to help law enforcement determine the sources of the drugs. And require every county employee to be trained in how to use the overdose reversal drug Narcan. Even the parks department.

"This is an epidemic," the county executive said, "like we’ve never seen before, in a way, I think, we’re creating a model for other communities. This is happening in other communities, this is not something that’s just happening just in Broome County."

Garnar says the state of emergency will stay in effect until county agencies coordinated to deal with the epidemic on an ongoing basis.