Continuing to Fight the Opioid Epidemic


The opioid epidemic is continually getting worse and the Central New York area has unfortunately needed to look into new ways to fight this crisis. Medical facilities are working on finding new and improving ways to help those who are struggling with addiction and how to make treatment more easily available.

While the problem is certainly nationwide, Cayuga County is really struggling currently. They believed their death and overdose rate were on the decline but only this past weekend saw three deaths with concerns leading back to a potentially deadly batch of heroin. Keith Cuttler is the CEO of East Hill Family Medical in Auburn says they believe the batch was laced with fentanyl which is fatal in incredibly small trace amounts.

Bad batches aren’t the only concern Cuttler notes, with access to Narcan becoming easier, users are having parties where one designated person is ready to administer the medication in the event of an overdose. While it may be saving lives and bringing down the overdose rate numbers, it is certainly unsettling and something to be addressed immediately.

Cayuga County is now taking a slightly different approach when it comes to getting addicts treatment. Traditionally, substance abuse has been treated in a variety of ways from rehab facilities to outpatient AA style meetings. Their new approach is at the primary care physician level so that it is more of a ‘judgement free zone’. People don’t need to know why you’re at your primary care physician and hopes this encourages more to seek help.

Cayuga County Drug Free Community Coalition will be hosting a screening of the film “Chasing the Dragon: Real Talk on the Opioid Epidemic”. The event will be taking place this Friday January 12th at 6:00pm in Auburn Junior High School. The intent is to teach parents, children, college students and anyone else about the dangers of drug use. A panel of discussion with experts on the topic including someone who is currently in recovery will be held after. Also everyone who is there will be entered in drawing for SU basketball tickets.   

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