ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Erway Ambulance service says it answered eight calls for reported opioid overdoses over the weekend in Chemung County, from February 10th to February 12th. Richard Kimball, director of personnel for Erway Ambulance service, told WETM the majority of the calls happened in Elmira. All eight patients were transported to hospitals. Information about their conditions has not been made public.

In one of the eight cases, Erway personnel administered Narcan, a life-saving medication designed to reverse the effects of opioids. Mr. Kimball said that doesn’t mean Narcan was not used in the other seven cases. Narcan could have also been administered by police, firefighters, or a resident. Mr. Kimball also noted that reported overdoses don’t paint the full picture. Reported overdoses only indicate calls where a person initially requested help for an overdose. Mr. Kimball says people often state a different reason when requesting an ambulance, due to not wanting to reveal that an overdose has occurred. Mr. Kimball said police officers accompany ambulance services on every reported overdose call.

So far this year, Mr. Kimball says Erway ambulances responded to 36 calls of reported overdoses in Chemung County. Narcan was administered by Erway personnel in 26 of those cases. In 2022, Erway ambulances answered a total of 404 reported overdoses.

Erway Ambulance service does not test which opioid the patient is being treated for. However, Mr. Kimball told WETM the most widely used opioids in Chemung County are currently Fentanyl and Heroin. Mr. Kimball said Oxycodone use has been declining following improvements in the control of Oxycodone prescriptions.

Mr. Kimball told WETM he is noticing an uptick in the number of reported overdose calls. Usually, he says he sees an “ebb and flow” in the number of reported overdoses countywide.

18 News reporter Nicolas Dubina also spoke with Brian Hart, Commissioner of the Chemung County Department of Social Services and Mental Hygiene. Mr. Hart said reported overdoes countywide have been declining since 2016. The number of fatalities reached zero in 2021. Commissioner Hart sent us the following data:

                      Countywide reported data                          Elmira

                                OD                          Fatalities                              OD                         

2016                       123                         20                                           65

2017                       130                         23                                           72          

2018                       91                           2                                              53                          

2019                       87                           1                                              58

2020                       96                           1                                              68          

2021                       91                           0                                              64          

2022                       67                           0                                              57

WETM also contacted the Elmira Police Department, the Elmira Fire Department, and the Chemung County Department of Health for additional information on opioid use in Elmira. As of this writing we have not heard back.

On January 17th, the New York State Department of Health released its County Opioid Quarterly Report for January 2023, showing a 14% increase in 2021 overdose deaths involving opioids compared to 2020.

Statewide the report highlighted these findings:

  • 14% increase in overdose deaths involving opioids, with 4,766 deaths in 2021.
  • 12.6% increase in outpatient Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses, with 10,430 visits in 2021.
  • 30.2% increase in outpatient Emergency Department visits due to opioid overdoses other than heroin, including illicitly produced opioids such as fentanyl, with 5,137 visits in 2021.
  • 11.8% increase in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) naloxone administration encounters, with 19,139 in 2021.

For Chemung County, the report noted the following for all opioid overdoses:


  • 2021 Total: 28 overdose deaths
  • 2022 January to March: 9 deaths
  • 2022 April to June: 7 deaths

Emergency Department Visits

  • 2022 Total: 87
  • 2022 January to March: 8
  • 2022 April to June: Fewer than 6


  • 2021 Total: 10
  • 2022 January to March: Fewer than 6
  • 2022 April to June: Fewer than 6