Police: 22 opioid overdoses, 1 fatality in 48 hours a cause for concern

Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said Saturday that police are concerned about a “significant uptick” in opioid overdoses after, he said, 22 people overdosed on heroin, prescription pain medicine, fentanyl or a combination of the three in the last 48 hours.

In one incident, a person in Elwood died from an overdose, police said.

At a news conference at the First Precinct in West Babylon, Sini said the uptick in opioid overdoses during the past two days is “almost a 60 percent increase in what we’re used to seeing.”

The commissioner said Suffolk police are now looking deeper into who is supplying the drugs and where they’re coming from.

“We have looked at each overdose and collected evidence, followed up with witnesses and are investigating drug dealers in the region who we think are selling,” Sini said.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 631-852-COPS or 631-852-NARC.

Opioid addiction continues to tightly grip Long Island, even as advocates try to prevent the epidemic from growing.

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which has caused deaths in record numbers nationally, is sometimes mixed with heroin. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin alone, officials have said, and comes in numerous forms.

In 2016, overdose deaths in Nassau and Suffolk counties approached 500, a new record, according to a report by the Nassau and Suffolk medical examiners that was released in April. Fentanyl was linked to more of those deaths than any other drug — of 303 Suffolk County deaths, 171 were related to fentanyl, double the 2015 count.

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Opioid overdoses aren’t just specific to Long Island. Overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death nationally and in New York City, according to New York City’s Health Department.

Since 2000, more than 300,000 people have died from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.