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August 28, 2014 Contact Jean Kessner

For immediate release 475.2430 x 703



ACR Health News:

Public trained to combat fatal overdoses;


Syringe voucher program established
at Garro’s Pharmacy


ACR Health trained Utica residents today on how to use Narcan, a life-saving antidote to heroin overdoses: New York is experiencing an epidemic of overdose deaths especially related to heroin and opioid-based prescription painkillers such as oxycontin and oxycodone. Overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the state.


Fatal opioid overdoses can be prevented. By training individuals and making Narcan available, lives will be saved. “We know of three individuals who owe their lives to Narcan, administered by people ACR Health has trained,” said ACR Health Director of Prevention, Erin Bortel. “When witnesses are appropriately trained and are prepared to respond in a safe and effective manner, lives will be saved.”


A second public health initiative to reduce HIV and Hepatitis C infection rates in the Mohawk Valley to begin September 2:

Expanded Syringe Access Program (ESAP) will be available through Garro’s Pharmacy in Utica. ESAP will work this way: ACR’s mobile street outreach unit takes prevention workers into targeted neighborhoods where they educate about the dangers of sharing needles and offer a voucher that can be redeemed at Garro’s Pharmacy for ten new syringes.


Getting a person to accept and redeem a voucher is just the first step, according to Prevention Health Advocate Michael Johnson. “Harm reduction is the ultimate goal, and community support literally opens doors for people. They see that an established pharmacy like Garro’s welcomes them in and, when they don’t have to be in hiding anymore, they often reach out for help.”


Reducing the incidence of HIV and Hepatitis C infection and providing people who inject drugs the resources to do so without spreading disease is the ultimate goal of ESAP.


New York State was able to effectively reduce the rate of HIV transmission among injection drug users from 54% in 1990 to less than 3% in 2012 through making clean syringes accessible.


ACR Health and the New York State Department of Health have conducted an expanded syringe access program in Syracuse since 2008.