Central New York, Community

Even With Good News Onondaga County Continues to Fight Opioid Crisis

FILE – This Aug. 15, 2017 file photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. Congressional investigators say wholesale pharmaceutical distributors shipped hundreds of millions of prescription opioid pills to West Virginia, a state disproportionately ravaged by deaths caused by the addictive drugs. Now, lawmakers want executives of those companies to explain how that happened. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

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Sam Carter Syracuse, N.Y (NCC News)-  According to the Center for Disease Control, since the year 2000 more than 70-thousand people have died due to Opioid overdoses in the United States. Recently however, in Onondaga County the number of overdose deaths have fallen dramatically.

According to the New York State Department of Health , the number of overdoses has  fallen for three straight quarters. According to Onondaga Health Department Program Director Mariah Senecal-Reilly, one of the factors in the decline has been collaboration.

“We have a very involved drug task force that involves professionals from many sectors including Law Enforcement, Local Government and Mental Health who join together to address prevention efforts as well as treatment.”

Although the numbers are trending in a positive direction, the Onondaga Department of Health has not finished fighting the Opioid Crisis. Beginning in 2019, a program called Trauma Informed Care will be expanded.

Senecal-Reilly says the program will be designed to help those who have suffered trauma and resort to Opiod use.

“Trauma informed care is making sure that every part of a system that touches a person life takes in to account everything that has happened to them. That is the good the bad and the ugly, so we recognize that experiences that people have had shape how their life is going. In the case of this we recognize that traumatic experiences can be attributed to higher rates of substance use.”

Right now this initiative is working with local schools to educate teachers but in the coming year Trauma Informed Care will be expanded into larger organizations that have yet to be named.

According to Senecal-Rielly, the next logical step in fighting overdoses is making Syracuse a more trauma informed community.