A number of counties in Upstate New York are taking a novel approach to opioid harm reduction, adding Narcan Emergency Boxes outside public buildings.

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According to a report by Harrison Gereau of InformNY, the Adirondack Health Institute's Rural Communities Opioid Response Program has provided 125 Narcan Emergency Boxes outside businesses in five upstate New York counties, Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Warren, and Washington.

It's a program that Broome County might want to look into copying. In a previous article on WNBF, it was noted that Broome County has a higher than average opioid overdose rate, with 35.8 opioid related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2020, higher than the statewide average of 15.1 opioid deaths per 100,000 residents in 2019 and nationwide average of 21.6 opioid related deaths per 100,000 residents in 2019.

Truth Pharm, a non-profit organization in Binghamton, has frequently held Narcan training events in the city with the goal of reducing harm for those who use illicit substances. So to see a program that makes Narcan readily available in public places in the event of an overdose could save a lot of lives in Broome County.

Sabrina Herlick, Director of Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Implementation, said "I was thrilled that each business we reached out to was more than happy to host a Narcan Emergency Box. I am really grateful that our local businesses have a supportive harm-reduction approach to substance use in Northern New York. The more Narcan we can have accessible during an emergency, or available to those who need it, the higher the chances we have to save a life."

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