ONEIDA COUNTY OPIOID TASK FORCE LAUNCHES NEW ‘SAVE A LIFE’ CAMPAIGN

June 22, 2022
Lisa Worden

Oneida County Opioid Task Force announces launch of its new “Save a Life” campaign

The Oneida County Opioid Task Force today announced the launch of its new “Save a Life” campaign that will expand access to naloxone by distributing free overdose rescue kits to more public places including businesses and community organizations.

“At a time when we are seeing the highest rates of overdoses and overdose deaths across the nation, we need to not only think outside of the box to expand distribution and ease of access to naloxone, but also treat it as a standard emergency tool that should be as readily available as fire extinguishers, AED devices, EpiPens and other common sense items we keep in our first aid kits,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “An overdose can occur at any time or place and can happen with both prescription and illicit opioids. For that reason, I urge all of our local businesses and organizations to lend their support in protecting the health of the public by readily accepting a free overdose rescue kit.”

The objectives of the “Save a Life” campaign are to greatly increase the number of public places that have naloxone, to help laypersons recognize signs of an overdose and to understand how easy it is to administer naloxone nasal spray, which when administered on time, can avert overdose death.

Opioid Task Force (OTF) partner agencies, including first responders and community-based organizations trained in overdose prevention, will be going to a host of public places such as community events, hotels and motels, convenience stores, bars, restaurants, libraries, retail stores, places of worship and numerous other businesses, to leave a free “Save a Life” Overdose Rescue Kit and additional information on where they can access training and get their kit replaced at no cost when needed.

Those interested can also go to the OTF website at www.ocopioidtaskforce.org, which gives two options:

  • Requesting via email a free “Save a Life” Overdose Rescue Kit, a small pouch containing two Narcan brand nasal spray doses.
  • Completing a short online application for a free a 13” x 13” Narcan Emergency Cabinet to install at their site, which also contains two Narcan nasal spray doses.

Narcan doses for either option will be replaced by the OTF at no cost after use or expiration.

Oneida County government facilities are already outfitted with Narcan cabinets and the OTF recently reached out to local municipalities to offer free cabinet installation in their government buildings and naloxone administration training to their staff. Outdoor cabinet options are also being explored that can be installed at parks and other public gathering spots.

Naloxone can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose from a prescription opioid, heroin, fentanyl or other drug mixed with opioids, and can restore normal breathing within minutes for a person whose breath has slowed, or even stopped. It can be administered by bystanders, does not require a prescription and is generally safe to use, even if given to someone who is incorrectly identified as experiencing an overdose.

Individuals interested in carrying naloxone on them or having it at home, can go the OTF website to see a listing of contact information for all local agencies that offer free naloxone and training, including some that can send Narcan via mail. People carrying naloxone should have training to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose, and understand what steps to take. Brief trainings are available in person, virtually or online.

Naloxone nasal spray is also available in more than 2,000 pharmacies across New York State without a prescription from a doctor. If a person has prescription coverage as part of their health insurance plan, they can use N-CAP to cover up to $40 in prescription co-payments so there are no or lower out-of-pocket expenses when getting naloxone at a participating pharmacy.

The rollout of the OTF “Save a Life” campaign is especially timely, as the County’s Overdose Detection & Mapping Application Program (ODMAP) issued multiple overdose spike alerts in the last several weeks, as well as tracked 38 suspected overdose fatalities year-to-date.