HEALing Communities Study tackling the “public health crisis” of opioid addiction

Monika Salvage calls opioid abuse in Auburn and Cayuga County a public health crisis.

Salvage is the Project Director for the HEALing Communities Study. HEAL stands for Helping to End Addiction Long Term. The project’s goal is to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40%. Salvage recently made a presentation on the project’s progress to the Auburn City Council,  including the results of an in-depth study of addiction in the county. She says the study is the first step in tackling the problem.

Related: Millions coming to counties in the Finger Lakes through opioid settlement

Cayuga County is one of 67 counties and communities asked to participate in the nationwide effort, funded by the National Institute of Health. Cayuga County began implementing the project in January 2020. That year, there were almost as many overdose deaths in the county as there were deaths due to COVID-19.

Narcan is saving lives in Cayuga County

There will be a countywide Narcan pop-up event on June 4. Narcan is a nasal spray that can counteract the effects of an overdose. No special training is needed to give it. Narcan kits will be available at Kinney Drugs in Auburn, Weedsport, and Moravia, at the Corner Store in King Ferry, and the Auburn Dunkin’ Donuts. The kits have also been sent to places identified in the study as addiction hotspots. Over 1,600 kits have been distributed, and bystanders may have saved as many as 76 lives using Narcan since the effort began.

Listen to my full Inside the FLX conversation with Monika Salvage below.