Sullivan overdose deaths run high

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Firefighters and police working with an overdose victim. (Poughkeepsie file photo).

MONTICELLO – The were eight drug overdose deaths in Sullivan County in April, the most in one month since the county coroner’s office began gathering statistics. The office handled a total of 26 deaths in that one month.

Coroner Albee Bockman said there is a new drug on the street that is causing havoc.

“Medical examiners and coroners throughout the state of New York, as well as the police, are being alerted to a new drug that is out on the street and it is called MDMA. It is a synthetic drug that acts as a stimulant drug and a hallucinogen and it is laced with fentanyl. As we know, the fentanyl is continuing coming through the border and it is not ending,” he said. “It is a neon pink tinge to the drug itself. It is packaged just like heroin, small, little packets,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the southern end of the region, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office reports 21 opioid deaths so far this year compared to 30 for all of 2020 and 41 in 2019.

Sullivan County officials are lobbying the county legislature to join the Hope Not Handcuffs program that would provide assistance to addicts who voluntarily seek assistance in breaking the habit. District Attorney Meagan Galligan called the program “the answer for Sullivan County.”

Several other area counties and municipal police agencies have joined the program.