BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — On Thursday afternoon, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz announced that seven Erie County residents died in 24 hours due to a deadly batch of heroin.
Poloncarz and other county officials said there was a spike in opioid overdose deaths early in the year. One person died as a result of opioids every day for the first 19 days of 2017.
40 days into the year, 55 people in Erie County were dead because of opioids.
Since 2012, opioid-related deaths have been increasing in the county. There was a large increase in deaths from 2014 to 2015, and in 2016, it was determined that 256 people died because of opioids.
Poloncarz and Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein gave a warning to county residents regarding the type of heroin that is suspected to have killed seven people in the last day.
The average age of the people killed was 32.
Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard, District Attorney John Flynn and others also spoke during the conference.
“If I can prove it, I will charge a drug dealer with murder,” Flynn said.
During the conference, officials spoke of the importance of having NarCan at the ready when addressing overdoses and let them know that help is available for addicts.