By Luc Sigaud SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)- As Central New York continues to deal with a severe opioid problem, there are those in the area that have dedicated themselves to fighting addiction.
Wil Murtaugh was ACR Health’s 27th employee when he was hired nearly 30 years ago. Now, as the Executive Director of the 160 employee-strong company, he leads the fight against improper needle use. While that issue is prevalent for diabetics and pivotal in the slowing of the spread of STI’s, he sees it as particularly important with illicit drugs. With ACR Health’s syringe exchange van, he can head to frequent use sites and make sure those that are going to need syringes have access to clean ones and proper usage techniques.
ACR also has test strips for Fentanyl, a powerful opioid that often laces heroin. 70 of the 101 unintentional opioid-related deaths in Onondaga County last year were related in some way to Fentanyl.
In addition to ACR Health, the Prevention Network in Syracuse also helps serve the addiction community. Ashley Dailey works as a family support navigator and focuses on helping to make sure those with addictions have a strong of a support system as possible. She stresses that families must remain patient with those fighting an addiction. Even though their behavior may be irascible at times, this is when they need the support of their strongest bonds.