ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Health Department is reporting that 2017 was the most deadly year for overdoses locally in a decade.

Last year, 22 people died from a drug overdose. Ten years ago, two people died from an overdose in the county. Due to the nature of how toxicology tests are conducted and what substances are tested for, it’s not clear which specific drugs caused the overdoses. But the county is in the midst of a heroin epidemic which officials say has contributed to the dramatic increase of overdoses and overdose deaths in the county.

In an effort to reduce opioid related deaths locally and provide people with forward-thinking resources for treatment, the Ithaca Plan was launched in February 2016. The plan called for a variety of initiatives including a detox center, a supervised injection facility, a methadone clinic, and better access to city services, such as housing and medical access.

In 2015, opioid related deaths killed more people in the United States than traffic accidents and homicides combined.

Featured image:  The Ithaca Police Department responds to a reported overdose around 8:10 p.m. Saturday on Floral Avenue. A person in a parked, dark colored vehicle was transported from the scene in a Bangs Ambulance. Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.