Narcan distribution helps lower opioid deaths in New York county

Efforts to address the opioid crisis in Cattaraugus County, N.Y., may be responsible for a reduction in countywide overdose deaths, according to a report from WBFO.

The county recorded zero opioid-related overdose deaths in the latter half of 2017 and just one so far in 2018. This trend marks a reversal from the first half of 2017, when 11 residents died of opioid overdoses, up from one such death recorded in the county in 2016.

"We are seeing a plateau in the number of deaths and calls out for heroin overdose or usage," Kevin Watkins, MD, the director of the county's public health department, told WBFO. "We also looked at some hospital statistics where we were able to look at the emergency room visits for opioid overdoses, and we have also noted that those numbers have started to trend downward."

Dr. Watkins said the Southern Tier Overdose Prevention Project — an opioid overdose prevention and Narcan distribution program backed by the state and conducted by the Olean, N.Y.-based health network Southern Tier — is largely to credit for the progress on opioid overdose reduction.

"I believe over 2017, [the program] was able to train over 1,256 individuals, [including] family members, community members and first responders," Dr. Watkins told WBFO. "They have gotten the Narcan out there and they have continued to provide our community with this training."

To read the full report from WBFO, click here.

More articles on opioids: 
Las Vegas pain physician arrested for illegal fentanyl distribution: 5 things to know 
2 drug distributors shipped 12M+ opioids to West Virginia pharmacy over 8 years: 7 things to know 
How to solve the opioid crisis with $100B — 30 experts weigh in

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