Bringing awareness to addiction on International Overdose Awareness Day

Local News

(WSYR-TV) — The opioid epidemic hasn’t slowed down during COVID-19.

Monday marked International Overdose Awareness Day and around the world people brought awareness to the struggles of addiction.

Cortland City Police Officer Jesse Abbott has seen the impacts of overdoses on the job and within his own family.

We have to learn to always be empathetic to the situation

Cortland City Police Officer Jesse Abbott

Empathy is something all families dealing with addiction desperately need.

The fight to stop the stigma of heroin and opioid abuse hasn’t faltered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbott lost a loved one just three years ago to an overdose.

His cousin Cody broke his jaw at 22 years old and after taking opioids for the pain, he struggled to break free of those medications and turned to heroin.

“I live by those words that addiction doesn’t discriminate,” said Abbott. “Cody had a loving family. He leaves behind a young son who is 12 years old.”

As the community-oriented police officer of the department, Abbott’s job is to connect with people.

When it comes to addiction, he has a strong voice and experience to help those using and their families.

We have to understand that sometimes relapses are part of recovery. So, even if the family or loved ones are feeling frustrated that their loved one is battling addiction, continue to be there for them. Offer them services. I know Syracuse, Onondaga County, Cortland County all have them for people with addiction problems.


The CDC said thousands of people die of overdoses each year in the United States.

Prevention Network helps people take action and in just five minutes, you can be trained on Narcan, which is a life-saving tool that reverses the effects of an overdose.

Dozens of people drove up for training on Monday afternoon in Syracuse, including a mother who wants to make sure everyone can save a life if needed.

“It is very necessary and very needed,” said Kim Wolfe of Camillus. “I like to get the word out. I have a son who is battling addiction and I have lost many, many people to this disease and I have been in recovery myself for a long time.”

To learn more about Narcan training and Prevention Network, click here.

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