Four overdoses in 11 days close out 2016 in Gowanda
GOWANDA — In the span of just over 10 days, the village of Gowanda ended 2016 with four heroin overdoses. This broke a streak of almost six months without an overdose.
“It could have been a bad batch of heroin that the individuals got,” Gowanda Officer-in-Charge Steve Raiport said.
The first overdose occurred on Dec. 21 when patrol reportedly found an unconscious 30-year-old man at 11:54 p.m. Narcan was administered by the officer.
The next overdoses occurred just a few days later.
On Dec. 23, two more were individuals found, both unconscious, at 3 and 3:20 p.m. The 25-year-old female earlier in the day and a 25-year-old male 20 minutes later were both responsive when patrol arrived.
The fourth overdose happened on New Year’s Eve just before 2017 at 11:33 p.m. when a 51-year-old male was reported unconscious and was given Narcan.
All four were transported to Lake Shore Hospital by Gowanda Ambulance Service.
All the overdoses occurred within a similar area and were acquaintances, according to Raiport.
The victims were not charged due to the Good Samaritan laws.
“The state amended the Good Samaritan law so that if somebody calls 911, they can’t be charged with the heroin possession,” Raiport said. “… The state changed the Good Samaritan law because of the fact that so many people have been overdosing and they weren’t calling.
“So they would, basically, leave them for dead. And the state recognized that, obviously, the right thing to do is getting help for them.”
Raiport is active in the Gowanda area in fighting drugs, and uses his prominent role in the police force to assist in that. He helps run Community Connection, which provides an effective rehab to individuals who suffer from addiction.
The experiences he had in the final week and a half of 2016 strengthened his reach of both knowing these victims and lending a hand to help them.
“I do know one of those individuals that overdosed,” Raiport added. “He did go back into rehab. He just left the other day. I have a program in place and they do know there are options available.”