The Oneida County Opioid Task Force is restructuring the way they fight addiction. They’ve broken down into teams to maximize their effectiveness, but even with more than sixty departments involved, they’re still asking for the public’s help. Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol talked about the need for help.
"We have so many people out in the community that want to be… that need to be part of our group that can contribute to help us get this epidemic under control. We felt the need… we’re at a point now where we need to reorganize," said Maciol.
Anyone interested in getting involved can contact the County. There are several working groups ranging from prevention and recovery, to treatment teams in need of help. A recent spike in opioid overdoses has given the Task Force a reason for more immediate action. The Task Force is now meeting quarterly to put an end to what they’re still calling an epidemic. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente tells us how the problems are affecting all classes of society.
"They’re losing their jobs because of their addictions. They’re losing their way because of their addictions, and while everybody deserves a second chance, they’re just not going out on the street and buying heroin. They’re going out on the street and buying heroin because they got addicted to pain medicine or some other form of medication."
The Department of Mental Health is working on changing the stigma of addiction because the range of addicts span well beyond the typical drug abuser. Jeannette Pavlus is the Director of Alcohol, Substance Abuse, and Duel Recovery for the Oneida County Department of Mental Health. She's seeing addictions at every level of society.
"We see it a lot with our athletes. They’ll get injured and then the doctor prescribes them a pain medication, and they don’t even realize that they’re becoming addicted to it. You know they take one and then they take the second one and so forth, and what it does is the opioids really alter your brain chemistry."