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Thank you to Sean Mickey at WKBW News for highlighting MATTERS’ statewide harm reduction services as a resource for individuals and organizations in New York!

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Buffalo-based Medication for Addiction Treatment and Emergency Referrals (MATTERS) program gives substance users access to treatment and resources. And it’s now seeing a major uptick in demand for its resources.

The organization has distributed over 2 million Fentanyl and Xylazine test strips to individuals and organizations across New York State. It comes at a time when Erie County is recording record numbers of fatal overdoses. 245 were reported through July.

“Our orders went from 20 or 30 a day to at least a couple hundred, sometimes thousands in a day that we’re receiving,” said Mia Dickinson, a harm reduction specialist for MATTERS.

She said the test strips are an effective strategy to reduce the risk of overdose.

“So they can test their supply for these certain contaminants and avoid overdoses or other negative consequences associated with Fentanyl and Xylazine,” added Dickinson.

It’s as easy as placing your substance into a small amount of water and mixing it with the test strip. One line means the drug is positive — while two lines means it’s clear.

“If they’re going to continue to use we want to make sure they’re doing so safely and so we have harm reduction supplies available,” said Program Manager Mila Pakhomova.

Other supplies include Narcan — which along with the test strips will soon be available in vending machines across the state.

“We’re constantly working on trying to tackle any new barriers and meet the community’s needs as best as we can,” said Pakhomova.

The organization plans to deploy 15 vending machines.

You can connect with MATTERS through, by phone at 765-matters for telemedicine, and an app.