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Interviews & Presentations

PBS Newshour highlighting Cayuga County: Wider access to Narcan helps rural communities fight overdose deaths

The FDA recently made it easier for people to obtain a powerful overdose-reversing medicine called naloxone. The drug, sold as Narcan, previously required a prescription, but soon will be sold over the counter. Many communities are already successfully using it to fight the tide of overdose deaths. With support from the Pulitzer Center and in collaboration with the Global Health Reporting Center, William Brangham reports from Upstate New York as part of our series Rural Rx.

A late winter night in Cato, New York, a tiny town west of Syracuse. The crowd is cheering on the home team and point guard Julia Wilson. That is Julia's mom. On the court, Julia is cool under pressure, and not just on the court, as she proved last summer... [Watch the segment that aired on 4/523]

Highlighting the impact and outcomes of the HEALing Communities Study in Cayuga County

View the final project presentation to the Cayuga County Legislature on 5/23/23. 

The HEALing Communities Study was implemented in Cayuga County from 2020 through 2022 with a community-driven approach to reduce overdose deaths. Funded by the National Institutes of Health and with assistance by the research partner Columbia University, the study resourced the countywide coordination efforts, data surveillance activities, and implementation of evidence-based practices through community agencies. During a time of a local and national health crisis, Cayuga County managed to remain focused on overdoses and reduced overdose deaths, going against the national trend. 

Overdose fatalities Cayuga County versus national

Interview with Spectrum News: Fentanyl overdoses rise in New York: How you could save a life

Opioid overdoses are on the rise in New York, according to the state Department of Health, and health professionals are working hard to offer interventions, services and medications to mitigate unintentional deaths from fentanyl. 

Monika Salvage works on the front-line of overdoses, addictions and the stigmas surrounding the disease at the Cayuga County Mental Health Department. As the Healing Cayuga project manager, she said she sees overdoses effect young teens, and it's a growing cause of concern. Read full article published on 3/1/23 Fentanyl overdoses rise in New York: How you could save a lifeFentanyl overdoses rise in New York: How you could save a lifFentanyl overdoses rise in NY: How you could save a life (

Spectrum News Screenshot Monika Salvage

Citizen Column & Video Presentation: Why you should talk to your child about substance use

Because it can save their life! Monika Salvage writes about the November 2022 community discussion on youth substance use and mental health and the role parents can play. [Read the column published on 11/8/22] The presentation was live streamed by the Auburn School district and is linked below.

For further reading on the topic, check out our column from 5/23/23 When a child may need help for mental health.

Parents Night Out Flyer Substance Use Discussion AHS 2022-11-16

Podcast: HEALing Communities tackling the public health crisis of opioid addiction

Monika Salvage, Project Director, calls opioid abuse in Auburn and Cayuga County a public health crisis. Salvage recently made a presentation on the project’s progress to the Auburn City Council,  including the results of an in-depth study of addiction in the county. She says the study is the first step in tackling the problem.
[Listen to the podcast on on 5/22/22]

Presentation Cover 2020 2021Fighting Opioid Overdose Deaths in Cayuga County: 2020/2021 in Review

The work of the local HEALing team has had a considerable impact on lives saved and people being linked to recovery services. 

Review the Presentation: 2 Years of HEALing Cayuga and learn about overdose trends in Cayuga County and our initiatives and data around Narcan distribution and improving access to opioid treatment.

TV Interview Beyond the Front Page

HEALing update with Project Director on Regional Media Access Channel on March 3, 2022

TV interview: National study brings light to an alarming trend in Cayuga County

For the past two years, Cayuga County has been taking part in a national study, tracking opioid overdoses in real time. Recently, they’ve noticed an alarming trend in young teens and children. Within the last year, Cayuga County has seen a major increase in overdoses in teens and young children. From 2019 to now, those numbers have tripled. Monika Salvage, the director of the program, said kids are grabbing anything they can find at home and intentionally harming themselves. It may not be illicit drugs, but it ranges from over-the-counter drugs like Advil to prescription pills. Salvage said they’re seeing this in kids as young as 11. On top of that, the number of completed suicides throughout the county has doubled since the start of the pandemic.

[Watch entire interview as aired on News Channel 9 on 6/9/2021]

Radio interview: HEALing Communities continues overdose fight

While overdoses of all substances increased by 16% from 2019 to 2020, fatal overdoses more than doubled. In 2019, 25% of all overdoses involved opioids. In 2020, the rate increased to 30%.
[Listen to the radio interview on Fingerlakes Daily News on 3/30/21]

Community Presentations

Sharing the progress of the HEALing work with community members, stakeholders, and elected officials is an important aspect of our outreach. The HEALing team is keeping the public informed by sharing real-time, local data and impact stories via social media, newspaper op-eds, and presentations to public bodies, such as 

  • Cayuga County Legislature's Health and Human Services Sub-Committee
  • Cayuga County Human Services Board
  • Cayuga County Alcohol and Substance Abuse Sub-Committee
  • Cayuga County Drug-Free Community Coalition
  • Auburn City Council

Auburn City Council Presentation March 26, 2021

Auburn City Council Zoom

TV Interview Beyond the Front Page

HEALing update with Project Director on Regional Media Access Channel on March 15, 2021.

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