Syracuse City Council Gets Behind "United to Fight It" Collaboration to Combat Opioid Addiction

Jan 8, 2018

Councilor Susan Boyle, center, is leading the effort to support "United to Fight It." She's joined by Councilor Steve Thompson, left, and Jonathan Crandall, Family Support Navigator at the Prevention Network.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Syracuse Common Councilors Monday threw their support behind a month-long media blitz aimed at getting opioid addicts the help they need.  They also hope the “United to Fight it” collaboration will spur community discussion and action.

Family support navigator with the Prevention Network Jon Crandall says the epidemic is not fading…

"Onondaga County happens to have the highest rate of opioid overdose deaths  among all Central New York counties.  There have been 53 opioid related deaths reported since June 2017."

He says emergency medical personnel report administering the lifesaving Narcan overdose treatment more than 560 times in 2016.  Councilor Susan Boyle says it’s important for the council to use its platform to provide information about the services available.

"As much as we reach out, it's important to take a moment to make sure people have access to which clinics have walk-in services, which clinics have 24-hour 800 numbers."

The documentary produced by the FBI takes a raw, uncensored look into the addiction community.
Credit fbi.gov

At the same time, Councilor Steve Thompson says there’s a shortage of treatment and recovery options. 

"There are not enough treatment providers.  There aren't enough medical solutions to the problem.  There aren't enough doctors to issue the suboxone...anything that can get the process started.  Hopefully they can bang through the bureaucracy and get something taken care of."

Councilors hope to engage community organizations, schools, and libraries to host prevention events complete with a documentary film produced by the FBI called “Chasing the Dragon.”

"It was enlightening to me how a lot of people fall into this addiction crisis and how it enters their lives.     It's not always what you think.  Sometimes it's someone who offers you a painkiller because you didn't make it to the doctor, because you slipped on the ice last week.  The next thing you know, you're addicted to opiates."

The 49 minute film portrays raw, uncensored, and unscripted stories that might be hard for some to watch.  Councilor Boyle says removing the stigma about addiction is one of the first steps toward treatment.

The common council compiled this list of services available to addicts or families of addicts looking for help:

  • Belvedere Addiction Services;  344 W. Genesee St., Suite 300.  Syracuse.  (315) 457-4700.  Outpatient Clinic Hours M, W, F 8-4; T, Th 8-7.  Belvederehealthservices.com
  • CNY Services Dual Recovery Program; 321 W. Onondaga St., Suite 201 Syracuse.  (315) 478-0610. Walk-ins Mon-Thurs beginning at 8 a.m. first come, first served. 
  • Conifer Park Admissions: 1-800-989-6446; patients can call on their own or be referred by family. More info here.
  • Syracuse VA: (315) 425-4400  Mon-Thurs 7-7; Fri 7-4:30; Sat. 8-noon.
  • Crouse Hospital Chemical Dependency Services: (315) 470-8304.  More info here.

The entire common council shows their support for the "United to Fight It" campaign.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News