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Thank you to Patrick Kelly and the rest of the PBS team for highlighting MATTERS as a resource to treat opioid use disorder and prevent overdoses in our community!

The development and dissemination of this educational video are important for continued education around the opioid crisis. MATTERS’ Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joshua Lynch, kicks off the video highlighting his experiences in the emergency department.

“Patients come to the emergency department in opioid withdrawal, surprised to hear that they were in opioid withdrawal because they’ve only used cocaine,” Dr. Lynch says. “What they didn’t realize is that they were developing an opioid dependence without ever knowing it.”

Unfortunately, this reality is not unique. Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein, highlights that many individuals who use cocaine, a stimulant commonly referred to as a ‘party drug’, are being exposed to fentanyl without knowing it. According to the ECDOH, nearly 70% of opioid-related deaths involved cocaine in 2023.

Dr. Burstein continues to mention that fentanyl is inexpensive, easy to access, and extremely addictive. These factors increase the risk of developing opioid use disorder. Additionally, fentanyl is very potent and can greatly increase the risk of a fatal overdose.

“Communities have to have a variety of tools and interventions that can appropriately meet people where they’re at,” says Associate Vice President of Harm Reduction for Evergreen Health, Emma Fabian. She continues “The likelihood of [re]lapse is very real, and we kind of have to normalize that.”

To better serve folks who continue to use drugs during their recovery, MATTERS distributes free fentanyl and xylazine test strips to individuals and organizations across New York State. Test strips, along with naloxone (commonly referred to as brand name Narcan) are also available via MATTERS harm reduction vending machines at no cost. Additionally, the program facilitates Opioid Overdose Response trainings to educate individuals on how to use naloxone to reverse an overdose.

Thank you to our partners at PBS, Evergreen Health, and the ECDOH for collaborating on this educational video. Contact the MATTERS team with any questions or concerns!