WXXI AM News

michael mendoza

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

A group of surgeons in upstate New York has adopted new guidelines for prescribing opioids.

The recommendations, developed by a team convened by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, aim to reduce excess supply of the drugs in the midst of an opioid epidemic that killed almost 200 people in Monroe County last year.

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

 

Nearly 200 people died from opioid overdoses in Monroe County last year, according to data released Monday by the county medical examiner’s office.

That’s the first decrease since 2015, but it’s still 17 times as many overdose deaths as the county had in 2011, when it first started tracking the data.

Monroe County public health commissioner Michael Mendoza said one of the primary reasons for last year’s decline was likely the prevalence of overdose reversal drugs like naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

A patient whose symptoms shut down an Irondequoit health clinic over measles fears earlier this week has tested negative for that disease.

Rochester Regional Health staff shut down the system’s Riedman campus in Irondequoit on Wednesday after an adult patient showed up with symptoms that could have been caused by measles.

The Monroe County public health department confirmed Friday that the patient did not have the virus.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Fatal opioid overdoses have either decreased or held constant in Monroe County each month since last October, according to the most recent data from the county’s Heroin Task Force.

March saw the lowest number of fatal overdoses – six – since the county began tracking the data in January 2018.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

With more measles cases in the last month than in the entire previous decade, Monroe County health officials urged parents to take action.

A growing number of parents in the Rochester area – and across the state and country – are choosing not to vaccinate their children, said county public health commissioner Michael Mendoza.

Monroe County Heroin Task Force

The Monroe County Heroin Task Force has released its latest month of data on opioid overdoses, marking the first time the county has had a full year of those statistics.

Drug Enforcement Administration

October saw the most opioid overdoses in Monroe County since the sheriff’s heroin task force started keeping track in January.

It was also the second-most-deadly month for people who overdosed, with 17 fatalities in the county, the sheriff’s data showed.

The oldest overdose victim was 65, according to the county’s data. The youngest was 17. There were 116 overdoses total.

“I cried. I just cried,” said Becky Baker, describing her reaction when she saw the latest data.

Baker shares her phone number with people addicted to opioids and their families. She tells them to call if they want help finding a slot in a treatment program.

Now, she says, she gets as many calls about deaths as she does about treatment.

“My phone has not stopped. The funerals keep coming,” Baker said. “I keep getting messages that ‘did you know so-and-so-has lost their life?’ It’s gut-wrenching. It’s heart-breaking. Our grief group keeps growing and growing.”

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Even as the number of treatment options for opioid and other substance addictions has increased in Monroe County in recent months, medical officials are concerned that the people who need those treatments don’t know what’s available.