Heroin Addiction

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. 

narcan.com

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.

healheroin.org

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.

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."

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…

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.

heroinnews.org

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.

Provided photo / Bonnie Russell, West Genesee Schools

The Superintendent of West Genesee Schools says the number of overdoses and deaths from the heroin and opioid epidemic has recently climbed back up in the community after a noticeable drop last year.   Dr. Christopher Brown hopes the help offered at Monday evening's addiction, recovery, and resource  can bring crime and addiction rates down.

The opioid and heroin epidemic is still as problematic as ever in Central New York as treatment options continue to expand.  That’s according to the Director of Behavioral Health at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse.  Last year, 325 patients were admitted to the medication assistive treatment program and the current census has 700 patients enrolled for treatment services which can span several years or decades.  Behavioral Health Director Monika Taylor is anticipating funding from the State Budget and at the Federal level.

upstate.edu

A set of new laws that went into effect at the start of 2017 can make it easier for people with heroin and opioid addictions to get help…and for treatment providers to help them.  One change for treatment involves whether insurance will cover it.  Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare CEO Jeremy Klemanski will have one less hurdle when trying to provide treatment to an addict…and having to prove they need it.

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