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While our local communities contend with COVID-19, and families are spending more time at home, there has been an increase in substance abuse reported across Rensselaer County.

“In our county alone, there have been 15 overdose deaths to date since March 16,” said Student Assistance Counselor Alyssa Evans, who works for Rensselaer County Mental Health. “This is a significant spike.”

The issues include increases in smoking of marijuana, cigarettes and vaping nicotine and marijuana, which also add to the risks associated with COVID-19. There are also dangers with these substances being laced with fentanyl, an extremely dangerous opiate.

Parents can learn more about these topics and specific ways to keep their families safe by reviewing resources provided by the NYS Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). You can also contact a school counselor or Mrs. Evans at EvansAl@egcsd.org.

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