Opioids are a class of substances that reduce pain, including physical pain, psychological pain, and emotional pain. An individual can develop a physiological dependence to opioids, experience opioid withdrawal symptoms between doses or use, and ultimately, develop opioid use disorder.
Opioids can be naturally occurring (derived from the poppy plant-opium), semi-synthetic (made in a lab but similar in structure to naturally-occurring opioids), or synthetic (made in a lab and not similar in structure to naturally occurring opioids). Opioids attach to opioid receptors in the brain to reduce pain but cause additional effects like drowsiness.
Illicitly manufactured opioids: heroin and fentanyl
Illicitly manufactured fentanyl are markedly more potent than opioid medications or heroin. As small as three (3) milligrams of fentanyl can be fatal. Substances containing fentanyl are the biggest contributor to increasing numbers of overdose and death.
The rate of opioid-related deaths increased in 2021 among residents in Madison County, Central New York, and New York State (excluding New York City).
Rate of Opioid Overdose Deaths (rate per 100,000) by Counties in Central New York and New York State (excluding NYC) (2010-2021). Source: New York State Department of Health Opioids Dashboard, https://www.health.ny.gov/statistics/opioid/.
Naloxone (often referred to the brand name, Narcan®) is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of a known or suspected overdose emergency. This potentially lifesaving medication is designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.
Since 2019, there has been a rise in doses administered with emergency medical services (EMS) consistently responsible for the largest proportion. A decline in administrations was seen between 2021 - 2022, however, the number of naloxone doses used provided by the community opioid overdose prevention (COOP) program increased by 142.8% between 2020 - 2022.