Essex County launches opioid overdose prevention program
ELIZABETHTOWN — The Essex County Health Department is now registered as an overdose prevention program through the New York State Department of Health.
The focus of ECHD’s Community Opioid Overdose Prevention Program is to train community members to recognize and respond to an overdose and increase access to give naloxone (Narcan) to prevent fatalities.
Through the COOP program, community members can anonymously request a Narcan kit, receive training on administering, and report Narcan usage by visiting the county’s website (essexcountyny.gov/health).
Included in each kit are local contacts to connect people with recovery support, 24-hour crisis access, and referral services.
“All registered opioid overdose programs have approved overdose trainers and response educators. Programs are supplied naloxone by the New York state Department of Health,” said Linda Beers, director of Public Health for the Essex County Health Department.
“Many people, either themselves, a family member, or someone they know have been impacted by this epidemic and people who use drugs have a right to respect, health and access to life-saving tools and information,” she added.
There have been at least 30 reported overdose reversals in Essex County in 2023, though reversals go unreported if EMS/first responders are not called.
“Opioid overdose remains a public health concern in Essex County and across New York State,” said Jessica Darney Buehler, ECHD’s director of health planning and promotion. “Rural communities are more vulnerable to the opioid crisis and face barriers such as access to harm reduction, medications for opioid use disorder, and recovery support programs. ECHD is committed to using all the tools available to those in need in our small communities. Carrying naloxone is a proven, lifesaving strategy that is often used in conjunction with other interventions that link people to resources.”