Police, prevention experts to address Schenectady’s string of drug overdoses

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Police and prevention experts in Schenectady will address a string of drug overdoses in the city this month after eight people died over one week, all of suspected overdoses, police said.

Two people overdosed this past weekend, after they used what they thought was cocaine, but tested as a mixture of fentanyl and amphetamines. They were revived by members of the Schenectady Fire Department.

Lieutenant Ryan Macherone of the Schenectady Police Department called the facts “extremely scary.”

It comes on the heels of what Macherone said was the worst spike in overdoses in memory for the city. He said the Special Investigations Unit is still looking at what drugs are involved. Preliminarily, police do not believe that the eight people who died were directly connected. Macherone said they were spread across different ages, backgrounds and locations within the city.

“Looking at where these took place, they were all throughout the city, some of the individuals were from here in the city, some were not,” he said.

Police also said that no one drug was responsible for the deaths, but that drugs found present ranged from Xylazine (known as “tranq”) and fentanyl to opioids, heroin and cocaine.

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Local organizations and police will host a community conversation Wednesday evening at Schenectady County Community College, located at 78 Washington Avenue in Schenectady. It’s happening from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with a free Narcan training to follow.

The organizations involved include members of the Hub, working together to prevent overdoses in Schenectady County.

“Just starting that conversation is going to be a really great place, jumping off point for more action to be taken — and understanding that the public is concerned about it gives us more ability to continue our work,” Haleigh Snare, Overdose Prevention Coordinator at New Choices Recovery Center, one of the organizations involved, said.