Community bringing awareness to resources amid drug overdose uptick

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The numbers are staggering, and keep growing on a daily basis. This year alone the number of drug overdoses has already prompted Monroe County leaders to issue a public health advisory.

News10NBC took a look at a community’s effort to bring awareness of this growing problem, and remember those who lost their lives to drugs.

Last month alone was the deadliest month for drug overdoses, and now some communities are saying enough is enough with the drugs and crime.

Several community groups, and some neighbors gathered at the intersection of Grand Avenue, and Greeley Street Thursday evening to talk about the drug problem that’s plaguing their community, and remember those who recently died of a drug overdose.

They also prayed for anyone still struggling with substance abuse disorder.

"I wanted to be the one to bring the community together. Let the community know that we care about them, and losing 46 people, so 46 citizens, community members. That’s something the whole community should be alarmed of," said Miquel Powell Executive Director and Founder of The Reentry and Community Development Center.

Over the weekend, three people were found dead inside a home on Grand Avenue. Authorities believe they died of drug overdoses. One of them was identified as Joey Williams. His mother Latasha spoke to us briefly.

"This is a shock to everyone. This is so unbelievable. I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ It’s still unbelievable, I’m still trying to figure out answers," Williams said.

Those who came wanted to show their support for these grieving families.

"I just heard that seven people overdosed, and it devastated me to know that somebody is out here selling poison to people," said Pamela Owens.

At the same time of the gathering, a NARCAN training session was hosted by Gates To Recovery Walk In Center at Gates Town Hall. Monroe County is now warning people about xylazine, also known as "horse tranquilizer." Xylazine has been mixed with heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine. The County believes it’s linked to the most recent drug overdoses. NARCAN doesn’t work on xylazine, but it does work on the drugs it may be mixed with.

"If there’s is fentanyl or heroin, NARCAN will work on that component. So you’ll have the respiratory depression, the hypertension, and xylazine affects the heart so you can have cardiac arrhythmias," said James Wesley, M.S., Clinical and Forensic Scientist.

County residents who need treatment and care can call Open Access at 585-627-1777, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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