More dying from heroin than COVID-19 in region

Albany Sheriff Craig Apple. (Lori Van Buren/Times Union)

Lori Van Buren/Albany Times Union

ALBANY — Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said recent heroin deaths are outpacing COVID-19 deaths in the region right now, a development that comes after months of regular deaths from the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Speaking at County Executive Dan McCoy’s daily news briefing, Apple said the region has had a big spike recently, in part due to batches of cocaine mixed with heroin.

“Right now heroin deaths in the Capital Region are far outpacing covid deaths and that’s something we have to pay attention to,” he said.

Apple said another contributing factor was the months-long shutdown in which in-person Narcotics Anonymous meetings haven’t been allowed. The pandemic has kept many shut in but law enforcement officers and addiction experts say the use of narcotics and overdoses has surged during the months since the coronavirus has pushed many into lockdown.

Specific detail on the number of recent heroin deaths and how they compared to previous years were not immediately available but Apple spoke while the county was in the middle of a multi-day stretch without a COVID-19 death.

McCoy told reporters that no one has died from coronavirus overnight, continuing a string of days since Thursday in which no one in the county died of the disease.

The county is up to 1,639 cases, with two more positive cases recorded Tuesday. The county recorded 1,640 cases on Monday but after a closer review, discovered three of those cases were Rensselaer County residents.

Earlier: Thirty overdoses rock Capital Region over 24 hours

The heroin deaths come less than a week after fentynal-laced cocaine was blamed for 30 overdoses in Rensselaer, Saratoga and Albany counties, including two fatal overdoses.