COVID-19 cited in spike of opioid overdoses

“They’re alone and we’re finding people too late"

WBEN Newsroom
May 21, 2020 - 8:56 pm

Buffalo, N.Y. ( - There’s yet another consequence to the COVID-19 pandemic: More opioid users are dying of overdoses.

Health authorities report that opioid use has not increased locally, but because of social isolation, more people are using alone, making it less likely someone is around to help them in the event they overdose. 

Eighty-five people died in Erie County from presumed overdoses through the first four months of the year. That’s up from 48 during the same period last year and 64 in 2018.

“They’re alone and we’re finding people too late,” said Cheryll Moore, director of the Erie County Department of Health Opioid Program. “Way too late. It is long after they’ve passed on.”

Another consequence of the pandemic: Mandates to reduce facility populations and limit admissions to rehabilitation centers in order to promote social distancing have reduced treatment options for addicts.

Read the complete story from our non-profit investigative partners and hear reporter Ali Ingersoll at 7:30am on WBEN Friday.

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