On Tuesday, November 22nd, Cayuga Medical Center joined multiple organizations in Tompkins County as an Opioid Overdose Prevention Program. The program will offer Narcan free to patients on site.
Due to a recent health alert that was issued by the Tompkins County Health Department on the number of potentially fatal overdoses in the Tompkins County area continue to rise. Drug related deaths in Tompkins County have increased by 32% from 2020 to 2021, with 2022 showing the number is expected to rise.
“Our emergency department, like others across the country, is uniquely positioned for naloxone distribution because of our open access to all community members,” stated Lori Bethke, Director of Critical Care Operations for Cayuga Health. “I am grateful to be part of the interdisciplinary team at CMC that recognized the need and pulled together to make this critical and impactful program happen.”
The CMC ED Naloxone Distribution program will target the distribution of nasal naloxone kits to those who may benefit from having life saving medication at their residence. This includes patients who have been to the ER after an overdose, are known to use illegal drugs, those who are being prescribed opioids for pain relief, as well as to their family or friends.
Cayuga Health’s Chief Diversity Officer, Herb Alexander explains, “There are folks in the community that have been doing this for a long time, and we are glad to walk alongside them in this work. The people affected by overdose are loved ones, family members, and members of our community. As a community hospital, it’s important that we commit to achieving health equity, and having Narcan available to those who need it is a key step in this direction.”