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Wayne County combats opioid crisis with Narcan “Red Box” initiative

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

As a response to the rising drug overdose problem, particularly from fentanyl-laced drugs, Wayne County is set to deploy 100 Narcan “Red Box” overdose emergency kits throughout the area.

The move comes after the County Health and Medical Services Committee received a presentation on the issue. Funding for the kits is sourced from opioid settlement funds obtained by New York State Attorney General Letitia James from pharmaceutical companies.

Public Health staff will strategically place these kits in parks, churches, businesses, and other locations where overdoses frequently occur. “We want to make it highly accessible,” said Wayne County Mental Health Director, Jim Haitz.

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Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is significantly more potent than morphine and contributes substantially to both fatal and non-fatal overdoses nationwide. Dealers often mistakenly believe they can manage the risk to users by measuring fentanyl accurately. However, many are ill-equipped and misunderstand the potent drug.

The CDC warns that powdered fentanyl is frequently mixed with drugs like heroin and cocaine, resulting in extremely hazardous combinations. Wayne County is actively encouraging drug safety, with free drug test strips attached to the kits, and will keep a count of these strips’ usage. Additionally, the County continues its efforts in Narcan training and kit distribution to ensure its accessibility to all residents.