John Smith / WAER News

A local agency is changing how much of the overdose-reversal drug Narcan it distributes. The State is now offering a Nacan Co-Payment Program that aims to get more kits into the hands of families, friends and opioid drug users.  ACR Health distributed 750 kits from the state last year, which the agency says resulted in saving at least 52 people.  Overdose Prevention Coordinator Kevin Donovan says most pharmacy chains participate in the state’s program.

Onondaga County Health Department

As the heroin epidemic continues unabated, a paramedic who’s responded to drug overdoses for decades says it’s time to lift the stigma of addiction.  In this final part in our series, he says thinking differently might get more people the help they need…and save lives.

Director of Operations for TLC ambulance Lon Fricano says the more we talk about addiction and bring it out of the shadows, the stronger prevention and treatment efforts can be. 


There’s no question the overdose antidote Narcan has saved the lives of numerous heroin and opioid addicts across Central New York.  In the next part of our series on the epidemic, seasoned paramedics say it can be a blessing…and a curse.

For most of us, a near death experience from a serious health issue or an accident would force a change in lifestyle or behavior.  But Director of Operations with TLC ambulance Lon Fricano says for addicts who might have just overdosed on heroin, they feel they’re going to die if they don’t get that next fix.


The scope and depth of the opioid epidemic in Central New York is almost impossible for many to grasp, unless you’re an addict or on the front lines.  In the next part in our series, WAER News caught up with a long-time paramedic who tells us what makes this crisis so pervasive.

Lon Fricano says he’s seen plenty of heroin overdoses during his more than three decades on the job, previously in New York City and as director of operations for TLC Ambulance in Auburn.  But, he says THIS is a different animal.

file photo / WAER News

Lethal batches of heroin are still showing up in Central New York as the addiction epidemic continues to take lives.  Three recent overdoses in Cayuga County illustrate the challenges of reaching addicts, and tracing the potent drugs.

Anytime police hear about clusters of heroin overdoses, they become suspicious about the composition of the drug.  Auburn Police Deputy Chief Roger Anthony says that happened last weekend…

John Smith/WAER News

Central New York Congressmember John Katko says he voted no to the House Budget this week because he stressed the elimination of the State and Local Tax deduction would have adversely affected property tax payers in the state.  However, he’s optimistic that House Republicans will work it out. 

Onondaga County to Sue Opioid Drug Makers Over "Misleading Information"

Jul 27, 2017

Onondaga County Lawmakers are preparing to file a lawsuit against opioid drug manufacturers for what they maintain is misleading information about the drugs that has fueled the county’s opioid and heroin epidemic.  Syracuse University School of Law Professor Nina Kohn says even if the county shows the drug manufacturer’s engaged in deceptive behavior, the court could still find they’re not legally responsible.

Leo Tully / WAER News

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a stop in Cortland Friday to introduce legislation to help combat the fentanyl crisis.  He says the bi-partisan INTERDICT Act is slated to be confirmed alongside the 2018 federal budget on October 1st and aims to combat the drug using machines called mass spectrometers.


Parents and children in Central New York are being urged to keep an eye out for heroin and fentanyl disguised as candy.  It’s turned up in the southern tier, where police have issued a public health warning about the drugs that look like sweet tarts candy.  The latest attempt to get kids addicted has the Prevention Network’s Beth Hurny almost speechless…

"It's sick.  I can't even...I'm so angered by the whole thing."

She says it goes beyond just hiding the drug.

Chris Bolt/WAER News

A statewide campaign visited Syracuse promoting safe spaces for people to use illegal drugs – in hopes of reducing overdose deaths and possibly curbing the drug use.  Angela Woody is with Vocal-New York, a group that works on drug policy, H-I-V AIDS issues, and mass incarceration.  She was in Syracuse with the Safe Shape Tour.  She says I-V and other drug users are shooting up or smoking in places that present a number of problems.