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‘Concerning’ number of opioid overdoses in Cayuga County prompts Narcan home delivery

Ellen Abbott
Narcan nasal spray.

Social isolation during the pandemic has made matters worse for some people suffering from substance use disorder, according to a Cayuga County research study trying to reduce opioid deaths. It’s forced the HEALing Communities Research Study to find different ways to reach out, especially when it comes to distributing Narcan, which can stop an overdose. 

The HEALing Communities study has been closely watching opioid overdoses in Cayuga County this year.  Project Director Monika Salvage said the numbers are concerning; there have been nine overdose fatalities linked to opioid overdoses from January to May this year, the same number of overdoses in all of 2019.  These numbers make getting Narcan into areas where it’s needed, more important. Salvage said the study has started an online portal that allows Narcan to be delivered to homes.

"People can watch a quick training video and they request a Narcan kit with other information as well about treatment and other services,” Salvage said. "And this is what should happen. People have Narcan at home, and if there is an emergency they can use it before calling 911.”

And so far, she said it seems to be having an impact.

"In the last month when there is an overdose, we’ve noticed, at least in the City of Auburn, there is an increased rate of bystander Narcan administration,” Salvage said. “We’ve seen an uptick in that. So that tells us the online platform is working. It gets into the right hands.”

The organization also started some pop-up Narcan distributions in areas that have been hardest hit with overdoses. Salvage said Narcan is the best chance to save lives in the event of an overdose and it also gives an individual a chance to seek help for an addiction.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.