Oneida County introduces new overdose prevention initiatives

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UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY-TV) — In honor of International Overdose Awareness Day Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente introduced new overdose prevention initiatives for the county.

“Addiction isn’t something people look to do,” Picente said. “At times it comes as a result of other illness or injury. It comes as a result of mental health issues and depression and other areas and then it spirals out of control, unfortunately.” 

The county executive was joined by Sheriff Rob Maciol and Assistant District Attorney, Grant Garramone in announcing the launch of the opioid task force’s new website that will provide information and resources for members of the community. 

“The website slogan is using data collaboration and innovation to save lives,” Picente said. “We’ve been using data in fighting opioids for a number of years and we know how important data is in any epidemic just look at what we’ve done with covid.”

They also announced two new task force initiatives, a Rapid Response Street Engagement Team, and Narcan Emergency Cabinets. The street engagement teams are multi-agency teams formed with the intention of going into communities that the data identifies as a hot spot for issues of mental health, substance use, homelessness, or unmet social service needs and providing people with same-day low barrier medication for substance use, acute care needs and Hepatitis-C testing and treatment as well as other “street medicines.”

“One of the first team will go to the Oneida square area that has been identified as and continues to be a very high risk and high problem area in our county in particular here in the City of Utica,” Picente explained.

The Narcan Emergency Cabinets are similar to publicly sited Automated External Defibrillator Machines, the county purchased 100 of them to distribute to various entities and local businesses, the cabinets will contain two doses of Narcan nasal spray along with instructions.

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