Broome Launches Opioid Overdose Text Notification Pilot

New York State officials are concerned among health and other authorities about an increase in deaths from opioid overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney General Letitia James says the numbers reinforce that all money coming through drug manufacturer settlements should be directed to local opioid control communities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that the number of overdose deaths in the United States exceeded 93,000 last year, a record high. The new record is due to the easy availability of drugs combined with the stress of lockdowns and other components of the pandemic, as well as the closure of many support services.

Meanwhile, Broome County has a new text alert program to help tackle overdose. The Department of Health is working with Partnership to End Addiction on the new measure, which will allow residents to receive free SPIKE Alert notifications on their mobile devices when an area experiences an increase in overdose.

It is hoped that the text warning will enable quick action by parents, relatives, caregivers, medical professionals, community groups, and first responders. The pilot program is anonymous. Residents can register by SMS: SPIKE at 1-855-963-5669 and follow the directions.

Residents are also reminded to have a Narcan kit on hand and to be trained on how to use the overdose reverser. The Broome Opioid Awareness Council says people can also call ahead and go to their local pharmacy and use the naloxone copayment support program to get an overdose antidote without a prescription from a doctor.

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