ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Oneida County Opioid Task Force issued a “call to action” that aims to reduce overdose deaths by at least 10% by the end of 2022.

Jared Henderson, the co-coordinator for the Oneida County Opioid Task Force, said there were 89 drug related deaths in 2021, and so far in 2022, the county is looking at 14 suspected overdose related deaths. Henderson questioned, “What else can we do to reduce overdose deaths over the next year, and what else can we do to increase the number of people in treatment and other support services?”

The task force decided to step on the pedal and expand their street engagement team. Henderson said they want to bring treatment directly to those who need it the most. “Actually going out and meeting people where they’re at, as opposed to waiting for them to come to the door, that’s been really successful and that just removes that barrier of transportation, and people are often times more comfortable in their own environment.” Henderson said they’ll have access to medication that helps with addiction and a medical professional will follow up with them on a regular basis.

Henderson, like many others, agree they need all the help they can get. “We’re currently working on a plan to get interested county employees trained on how to use Narcan as we continue to deploy these Narcan emergency cabinets throughout county office buildings, that’s one of the central goals — is to get as many county employees trained as we can.”

Henderson says one of their biggest concerns is fentanyl making its way into substances like cocaine and methamphetamine.