International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held each year on August 31st with an aim to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or suffered a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
Globally, an estimated 190,000 people died last year from a drug overdose . Onondaga County is not immune. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths has tripled among Onondaga County residents.
Onondaga County Health Commissioner, Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, stressed that an urgent response is needed by all sectors of our community. “Opioid abuse is increasing across all population groups in Onondaga County which is consistent with state and national trends. The increased use of prescription opioid pain medications, along with the widespread availability of cheap heroin and newer synthetic Fentanyl analogs, is responsible for this ongoing public health crisis.” Gupta continued, “Collaborative partnerships between communities, individuals who use drugs and their families, medical providers, public health agencies, law enforcement, businesses, educational institutions, non-profits, and policy makers is needed to reverse the tide.”
In Onondaga County, we are working with all of the partners within the Onondaga County Drug Task Force to address this crisis using a three-pronged approach:
- Prevention: Working with medical providers and law enforcement to prevent initiation of drug use through responsible prescribing practices and preventing the diversion of prescription drugs.
- Crisis: Building capacity to respond to opioid overdoses through naloxone training and administration.
- Treatment and Recovery: Linking individuals to appropriate treatment resources, and supporting those in recovery.
For resources related to opioid and heroin addiction visit https://combatheroin.ny.gov/. For more information about Onondaga County’s three-pronged approach for combating opioid and heroin addiction visit http://www.ongov.net/health/opioids/.