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Education, prevention, outreach: CNY’s strategy to curb overdose deaths

The national fentanyl crisis has spread into parts of Central New York, causing deaths at alarming rates.

“We facilitate a number of harm reduction initiatives,” said Mariah Senecal-Reilly, mental health and substance use initiatives program coordinator for the Onondaga County Health Department. “Harm reduction is helping people who use drugs to be as safe as they possibly can while they continue to use.”

Senecal-Reilly said the department distributes naloxone, known also by the brand name Narcan, widely across the community and offers training on how to use it.

“We can do trainings in-person, virtually. We have an online training. We have a text line where people can contact us, and we’ll mail it or drop it off. So we encourage everyone in the community to recognize the signs of overdose, have Narcan and carry it with you, just in the odd chance that you could potentially save someone’s life,” Senecal-Reilly said.