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Combat Opioid Addiction


Combat Heroin

Local Data

Current Heroin Epidemic

Heroin use is increasing across all social classes in Onondaga county similar to state and national trends. Two main reasons for this troubling trend are:

  • Increased use of prescription opiate pain medications

  • Availability of cheap heroin

What are Opiates and Opioids?

Opiates and opioids are classes of depressant analgesics derived from or chemically similar to substances found in P. somniferum, the opium poppy. They include both naturally occurring and synthetic substances. Opiates are benzylisoquinoline alkaloids, which are found naturally in the poppy plant Papaver somniferum . The psychoactive compounds found in the opium plant include morphine, codeine, and thebaine.


Opioids is the broader term which includes all substances with opium-like effects, including opiates, semi-synthetic opioids derived from morphine (such as heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone), and synthetic opioids which are not derived from morphine (such as fentanyl, buprenorphine, and methadone).

Heroin is illegal in the United States and is both physically and psychologically highly addictive. It can be injected, inhaled or snorted, and is the fastest-acting opioid.  Large doses of heroin can cause fatal respiratory depression. Heroin use has been rising since 2007, growing from 373,000 yearly users to 669,000 in 2012, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). An estimated 467,000 people in the US were addicted to heroin in 2012, and heroin overdose death rate quadrupled in a decade to reach 8,300 in the US in 2013.

Prescription pain relievers can be abused illegally for their opioid effects by those without prescriptions or a medical need. Some commonly abused or illegally resold pain relievers include: Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan), Morphine, Codeine and Methadone.


Risk Factors for Heroin Abuse or Dependence

  • History of alcohol abuse, marijuana, or cocaine
  • History of prescription opioid pain medications

According to the CDC, the likelihood of heroin addiction doubles with the alcohol use, triples with Marijuana use, increases 15 times over with Cocaine and 40 times over with the use of prescription opiates.

Substance Abuse and Heroin

Significant switch in the trends of opioids and heroin: A Public Health Concern

  • Prescription opiates are the most common substance of abuse and trend is switching to use of prescription and heroin combined.

Rates of Abuse

 Fig: National Rates of Abuse of Opioids in the Previous Month among 15,227 Respondents:

Reference: Theodore J Cicero PhD: Shifting Patterns of Prescription Opioid and Heroin Abuse

in the United States: N Engl J Med 2015; 373:1789-1790 October 29, 2015


  • Today’s heroin is significantly pure. It can be injected, smoked or snorted.
  • According to the DEA, since 1999, there has been 40% increase in the purity, which has broadened its appeal to be used either by snorting or smoking.
  • Inhalation is a common practice now.

Negative Health Consequences of Opioids and Heroin

  • Strong sense of euphoria, dependence, constipation, sedation, respiratory depression, withdrawl smptoms with abrupt discontinuation and in exteme situation death can occur.
  • When used intravenously it increases the chance of contracting HIV, hepatitis B and C or developing a bacterial infection. A recent HIV outbreak in Indiana resulted from use of dirty needles is a testimony to this serious threat.
  • Use during pregnancy results in exposure of babies to these drugs, results in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). There has been a significant increase in incidences of NAS nationally (NEJM).
  • Increase in fatality due to motor vehicle accidents.

How to Address this Problem

A comprehensive plan in Onondaga County has a three-pronged approach:

Three-Pronged Approach


PREVENT People from Starting Heroin

Reduce prescription opioid painkiller abuse

  • Improve the prescribing practices of opiates by working with local physicians

  • Recommend physicians to use screening tools such as Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

  • Increase awareness by increasing prevention messages by working with state and local resources

  • Promote the use of drug collection programs.
  • Promote the use of Sharps, Needles and Drug Disposal (SNADD) Drop Off Bins at various locations:

    Baldwinsville Police Department* 16 W. Genesee Street, Baldwinsville
    Camillus Police Department4600 W. Genesee Street, Syracuse
    Cicero Police Department8236 Sounth Main Street, Cicero
    DeWitt Police Department 5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse
    Geddes Police Department1000 Woods Road, Solvay

    Jordan Police Department  7 Mechanic Street, Jordan
    Manlius Police Department1 Arkie Albanese Avenue, Manlius
    Marcellus Police Department 6 Slocombe Avenue, Marcellus

    Onondaga Community College, Campus Security Building*  4941 Onondaga Road, Syracuse

    Solvay Police Department 507 Charles Avenue, Solvay

    SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry 1 Forestry Drive, 19 Bray Hall, Syracuse
    Syracuse Police Department 511 S. State Street, Syracuse (Public Safety Building)

    Download the SNADD Palm Card with a list of the locations

    *Location that also has sharps (needles and lancets) collection boxes. Also see listings at the NYS Safe Sharps Collection Program.




Onondaga County Sharps, Needles and Drug Disposal (SNADD) Program

Onondaga County’s SNADD program offers a solution for the safe disposal of household medications. Local participating police departments and colleges are now collecting both over the counter and prescription medications during regular business hours on an on-going basis. The goal is to reduce the availability of all drugs in the home, especially more dangerous drugs such as pain medications. The SNADD Program will help reduce the risk of ingestion, exposure, and abuse of drugs in our communities by providing the public an opportunity to rid their homes of unwanted, outdated meds. The SNADD program also allows for the disposal of hypodermic needles and other sharps used for at home medical care in separate kiosks at some locations.


Drug Drop Off Bin

Pictured: Prescription Drug Drop Off Bins




Reduce Heroin Addiction by Linking People to TREATMENT

Help those who are addicted get appropriate treatment and crisis intervention.


The current treatment options are:

  • Methodone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone (short- and long-acting forms)
Behavioral Therapies
  • Contingency management, or motivational incentives
  • 12-Step facilitation therapy


Local Treatment Facilities

Local Treatment Resource Locators


REVERSE Heroin Overdose

Naloxone (NARCAN®) Training


VIDEO: Opiate Misuse, Overdose, & Addiction – Causes & Solutions



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