• Home

Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in Broome County May Be Decreasing

The Broome County Health Department says the number of opioid-related deaths may be going down from last year. It adds that numbers are not definitive at this point.

FOX 40 spoke with Dr. Christopher Ryan, the department's medical director. Dr. Ryan says that of 2,001 deaths recorded in Broome County in 2015, the number of opioid-involved deaths currently sits at 14. Overdoses from drugs such as heroin, Vicodin, and Oxycodone are included in this statistic.

The number is down from 26 cases recorded by Broome County in 2014, and 20 in 2013. However, Dr. Ryan stresses that it is just a preliminary number.

"A number of deaths from 2015; I'm sure are still listed as pending cause, a pending investigation, because it's only the first week in January. And these investigations can take a while; to do an autopsy, lab tests, to investigate the scene. To be accurate, that can be a time-consuming process," said Dr. Ryan.

Dr. Ryan says he is optimistic efforts by medical professionals and law enforcement are helping to fight the area's opioid problem.

The local non-profit organization Truth Pharm is among those working to lower overdose numbers.

"Just opening the dialogue and the conversation, and letting people know there are tools that they can use to help save a loved one; that helps immensely. And then also letting people know who they can talk to or who they can turn to for help changes the conversation. And I believe that it is saving lives," Alexis Pleus, Founder of Truth Pharm, said.

Pleus adds that naloxone training and kits for overdoses are available at the Southern Tier Aids Program in Johnson City.