Monroe County has expanded its efforts to reduce opioid addiction and overdose-related deaths.
In the first half of 2022, there were 323 opioid-related overdoses so far, with 76 fatalities, according to the county’s Heroin Task Force. In the first six months of 2021, there were 330 overdoses, 72 of them fatal.
The county has decided to make naloxone—the generic form of Narcan—more readily available in cabinets located at community sites and businesses, including motels, gas stations and convenience stores that see the most overdoses. Each cabinet contains 12 doses of the nasal spray with instructions on administrations.
Naloxone blocks the impact of opioids on the brain and restores normal breathing. It is specific to opioid overdose.
Fifty cabinets were installed today, using data collected by the county’s Improving Addiction Coordination Team. An additional 500 naloxone cabinets are expected to be installed. The county will also restock the boxes as needed.
“IMPACT has already distributed more than 3,500 doses of naloxone to the community, but more is needed,” says Adam Bello, Monroe County executive. “The naloxone cabinets will be immediately accessible when there is an overdose at or near types of businesses and establishments often frequented by those using opioids and fentanyl. Once a death is prevented, IMPACT can help connect the individual with addiction support and treatment.”
In the push to combat the epidemic, IMPACT now has a dedicated vehicle to help with outreach and education, and a countywide public awareness campaign is in the works. A 24-hour opioid hotline will be staffed by IMPACT clinicians. The hotline connects callers with crisis services, support, naloxone deliveries and training as well as support for families impacted by opioids, county officials say. Billboards, posters and social media will promote the number (585) 753-5300.
“The hotline can provide help and support for individuals and families impacted by opioids and fentanyl addiction,” Bello says.
He also noted the county’s efforts to stem the opioid crisis including the expansion of the IMPACT team to 22 people and the passage of Maisie’s Law, which requires pharmacies to provide a public health notice and information about naloxone with each new opioid prescription filled.
A “lock box” opioid trust fund now ensures that opioid settlement funds are spent on the problems at hand. More than 800 county employees, community groups, businesses, Rochester City School District workers and library staff have been trained to administer naloxone.