ORISKANY, NY (WSYR-TV) The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office just launched an unconventional program involving Narcan, the potentially life-saving medication to quickly reverse an opioid overdose.
It’s one of the first programs of its kind for inmates in New York State.
NewsChannel 9’s Jennifer Sanders went inside the jail to see how it works.
“Where I’m from there’s a lot of people who are drug addicts, people in the streets, I have family members that do drugs,” said Dareece Outten.
Outten has been in the Oneida County Jail since last year. He comes from a neighborhood in Harlem — where drugs are commonplace.
“It is like opioids heroin, fentanyl, crack cocaine, it’s a lot. I want to use what I learned in this jail to take force on that,” Outten said.
One week ago he was trained on Narcan inside the jail. He joins 19 other inmates, 10 men and 10 women, who are part of the first group trained on Narcan inside the jail.
In the two hour course the inmates learn how to operate the kit, which they will keep after they’re released to help those who might be close to them dealing with drug-related issues. They’ll also be certified for two years after their release.
“We are teaching them about prevention, overdose prevention, so if they have a friend or family member dealing with addiction they have basic information on what to watch for,” explained Sheriff Rob Maciol of Oneida County.
Sheriff Maciol sees first hand how the opioid epidemic has impacted Oneida County.
Opioids by the numbers (Oneida County)
Source: Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP)
Jan. 2019: 3 deaths; 26 overdoses
Feb. 2019: 3 deaths; 31 overdoses
March 2019: 10 deaths; 58 overdoses
April 2019: 2 deaths; 32 overdoses
May 2019: 1 death; 34 overdoses
June 2019: 1 death; 28 overdoses
July 2019: 2 deaths; 29 overdoses
Aug. 2019: 3 deaths; 27 overdoses
Sept. 2019: 3 deaths; 34 overdoses
Oct. 2019: 3 deaths; 24 overdoses
Nov. 2019: 7 deaths; 41 overdoses
Dec. 2019: 2 deaths; 19 overdoses
Jan. 2020: 1 death; 3 overdoses
Maciol believes the training in the jail is another tool to help combat those numbers.
But the program isn’t without controversy…
“There were critics who said why are we doing this, its something free? Its not about that, its about saving lives,” Maciol said.
Outten believes it will help him get and stay on the right course after he is released.
Many community agencies across Central New York give away Narcan kits for free.
The program inside the jail was made possible by a grant from New York State’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports.