Oneida County Overdose Response Team Expands Narcan Distribution

County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today that the Sheriff’s Office and the Whitesboro Police Department have joined with the Oneida County Overdose Response Team to participate in the county’s “Leave Behind” Narcan program.

They will be the first local law enforcement agencies to participate in the program, joining the Utica Fire Department and Midstate EMS who piloted the Overdose Response Team’s program in October.

“Our first responders are on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic, handling multiple and repeat overdose calls under difficult conditions and seeing firsthand the traumatic consequences,” Picente said. “I am happy our Sheriff’s Office and the Whitesboro Police Department have joined the Overdose Response Team’s ‘Leave Behind’ program and recognize the benefits of using Narcan to treat substance abuse disorder. We know that Narcan is not the only solution to the overdose crisis, but every time it’s successfully used, it gives someone another chance to get help and find a path to recovery.”

Participants in the county’s program leave a naloxone kit with the patient, family members, friends or bystanders at the scene of a non-fatal overdose. The kits include a single-step 4 mg Narcan nasal spray dose, an instructional handout for administering and a pocket card with contact information for Oneida County substance use services. The program also stresses the importance of calling 9-1-1 in addition to administering the naloxone.

“The most important job that members of law enforcement have is to save lives,” said Sheriff Robert Maciol. “That person who overdoses is someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, brother or sister, and it is our job to do all that we can to save their life. Even after a successful save with Narcan, our job of helping them is not over, it’s just the first step. That is why the Sheriff’s Office is excited and eager to become part of the ‘Leave Behind’ program. This next step of leaving these critical kits with the individuals and their families could mean the difference between life and death if there is another overdose.”

“As law enforcement officers, we have the responsibility to act as role models and to assist in early intervention whenever possible,” said Sgt. Jeffrey Kopec, Officer in Charge, Whitesboro Police Department. “We can choose to focus on educating ourselves and the community we serve and live in on ways to be proactive in helping those living with substance use disorders. These disorders are not something we can ‘arrest away.’ It is time that we work together to help break the stigma. The Whitesboro Police Department is honored to be part of the ‘Leave Behind’ program. We want the community to know we are here to help and they are not alone.”

The Narcan kits that are left behind are supplied by Midstate EMS which receives them at no cost from the New York State Department of Health for distribution to EMS or law enforcement agencies that agree to implement the program.

“The Midstate EMS Region is excited to partner with Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, Whitesboro Police Department and Oneida County in this life-saving program,” said Vincent Ouimette, Midstate EMS Clinical Coordinator. “We are at the ready to provide them with the naloxone needed to support our mutual goal to save lives.”

Agencies interested in participating in the “Leave Behind” program should call the Oneida County Overdose Response Team at 315-798-5508.