JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Overdose deaths are continuing to impact Jefferson County and the North Country.

On Thursday, Jefferson County Public Health Service released its Overdose Fatality Update for 2021, which according to Public Information Officer Stephen Jennings, the county is continuing to experience “heightened overdose activity from substance abuse.”

In 2021, there were 26 confirmed overdose deaths. There are an additional five possible overdose deaths pending toxicology confirmation.

With the holidays approaching, Jefferson County Public Health Service, Jefferson County Department of Community Services and the Alliance for Better Communities all said they are concerned about substance use and overdoses during the next few weeks.

The group said that “excessive stress during the holidays can trigger a number of behavioral patterns for some people, and can be a particularly vulnerable time for those struggling with substance use.”

To address this concern, officials listed concerns for those who are struggling with substance use disorders in the North Country, this includes:

  • Anchor Recovery Center of NNY: 315-836-3460
  • Credo Community Center for Treatment of Addictions: 315-788-1530
  • NRCIL Recovery WarmLine: 315-755-8408
  • Mobile Crisis Jefferson County: 315-782-2327 or 315-777-9681
  • Samaritan Addiction Services: 315-779-5060
  • Samaritan Medical Center, Social Worker on Call: 315-785-4516
  • Northern Regional Center for Independent Living: 315- 785-8703 business hours, and 315-785-8708 nights and weekends.
  • Hope Line: 1-877-8-HOPENY or text 467369
  • ACR Health: 315-785-8222
  • Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

The public was also reminded of the New York State 911 Good Samaritan Law. This allows people to call 911 without fear of arrest if they are having a drug or alcohol overdose, and requires emergency medical care. This also applies to those witnessing someone overdosing.

Harm reduction kits and fentanyl test strips are also being provided by the Alliance for Better Communities. These can be obtained by calling 315-788-4660 or by waving down a Jefferson County Sheriff or Watertown City Police Department cruiser.

Unneeded prescription medications can also be disposed of at several sites in Jefferson County. This includes the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Guthrie Ambulatory Health Care Clinic, U.S. Army Conner Troop Medical Clinic and Kinney Drugs.