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Thank you to the Olean Times Herold for highlighting the MATTERS Network as a resource in addressing overdoses and improving access to harm reduction services! It is important to dispel misinformation surrounding naloxone (commonly referred to as brand name Narcan).

External News: So. Tier Health Care System attempts to dispel Narcan rumors, boost efforts against overdose

By: Bob Clark, Olean Times Herald

March 9 2023

OLEAN — The anti-opioid Narcan is safe and effective, area health care and addiction service agencies reassured on Thursday.

Southern Tier Health Care System, working with Olean General Hospital, the Cattaraugus County Health Department, the Cattaraugus County Department of Community Services, CASA-Trinity and the MATTERS Network, sought to assure the community that myths on safety for the compound, also known as naloxone, are untrue.

Rumors abound that the compound encourages drug use and it is unsafe for non-medical professionals to administer.

STHCS officials said that studies have shown that people who have access to Narcan are more likely to survive an overdose — and following a successful overdose reversal, a patient can access additional treatment options that they may not have considered previously.

“We believe that increasing access to harm reduction tools is critical in saving lives and reducing the impact of the opioid epidemic in our community,” said Jordan Yaros, STHCS’ program coordinator. “Since Southern Tier Overdose Prevention Program’s establishment in 2015, STHCS has offered Narcan trainings within the community. After completion of these trainings, individuals can request a Narcan kit.”

STHCS has worked with area agencies to increase accessibility to what it calls “harm-reduction tools” in settings such as hospitals, jails and addiction treatment centers. Advocates said harm reduction helps prevent drug-related deaths and offers access to healthcare, social services and treatment.

In partnership with Olean General, STHCS has made Narcan kits accessible during the discharge process to patients who are transported to the emergency department for overdosing, as well as the patient’s friends or family.

STHCS and the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office have partnered to make Narcan kits accessible when inmates who participate in the medication-assisted treatment program are released from the Cattaraugus County Jail.

To make Narcan accessible, STHCS has added it to 58 Automated External Defibrillators stations, including AEDs at OGH, the Olean City School District, the city of Olean, CASA-Trinity, Cattaraugus County and the Salamanca City Central School District.

MATTERS, a statewide addiction referral network and a partner of STHCS, offers free fentanyl test strips shipped to patient’s homes in New York state. To put in a request for strips, visit

“Our goal is to ensure that everyone in New York state has access to the resources they need to stay safe and healthy,” said Dr. Joshua Lynch, chief medical officer of The MATTERS Network and a professor at University at Buffalo. “We believe that harm reduction is an essential tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic, and we want to do everything we can to make sure these tools are easily accessible.”

Fentanyl test strips are also accessible to overdose patients at OGH’s emergency room, clients of Cattaraugus County Department of Community Services at the Olean, Salamanca, and Machias clinics; CASA Trinity; and inmates released from the county jail.