Access to Naloxone, the overdose-reversing medication, can be difficult in more-rural parts of Cortland County but with a $5,000 grant, Cortland Area Communities That Care will work to create kiosks to address the problem.
“We want to make sure that if there are people who want access to Narcan, we want to be able to provide it,” Matt Whitman, the executive director of the organization, said Tuesday.
The organization was one of 12 to receive $5,000 grants this week as part of the Cortland County Bright Ideas Grant program, states a release from the Central New York Community Foundation.
The coalition is looking to put four boxes with naloxone kits in McGraw, Marathon Truxton and Cinncinatus to help with its effort to expand access, said Sara Watrous, the project director.
The kits won’t be for emergency situations; they’ll be for people who may live with others who might overdose and need a revival, she said. Instructions will be included with kits on how to use them.
“We’re super excited,” Watrous said.
The coalition, Family Counseling Services of Cortland County, Inc., the Cortland County Health Department and other organizations have worked to teach people how to use naloxone and this project would further the public’s awareness and use of it, she said.
Last year, the organization saw at least 21 deaths from overdose, a record high, Whitman said. The previous high was 15 in 2017.
“Easy access to Narcan is top priority for saving lives,” she said.
Access to Independence of Cortland County will use its $5,000 grant to start a pilot program to offer telehealth services to people who may not have good broadband connections or a reliable phone, Executive Director Aaron Baier said.
The organization will provide a private room for patients to use an iPad or a phone to speak with their doctor for appointments, he said. All surfaces will be disinfected after each visit.
“It’s a really simple solution to a problem that is fairly widespread in our community,” Baier said.
Some people, especially in the more rural parts of the county, may not have strong enough wi-fi for telehealth appointments or may not have phone minutes to speak with their doctor, Baier said.
He noted other future uses for the room and iPad including:
• Video job interviews.
• Video visits with college admissions staff.
• Video community workshops.
“I think it’s going to become a popular service once people learn what it is and what telehealth involves,” he said.
The 12 recipients of $5,000
• Access to Independence of Cortland County to help a location for telehealth visits, virtual job interviews and other virtual meetings for people who otherwise do not have internet access.
• Center for the Arts of Homer for ultraviolet lights to purify air in the theater and community room.
• Cortland Area Communities That Care Coalition to increase access to naloxone via distribution kiosks in rural parts of Cortland County.
• Cortland Chenango Rural Services to buy chairs that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
• Cortland County Family YMCA to repair the existing cooler space and provide cold storage for food distributions, farm-to-family initiatives and more.
• Cortland County Historical Society for a storage system that will better use hanging garment space and for a vacuum cleaner and archival boxes.
• Cortland Loaves and Fishes to expand its Snackpack program, providing nutritious weekend meals for students.
• Cortland Repertory Theatre to develop and expand two familyfocused drive-through productions.
• Lime Hollow Nature Center to repurpose a structure to accommodate the OCM BOCES New Visions Environmental Science Program.
• McGraw Elementary School to optimize the school’s outdoor space including seating mats and canopies for sun and weather protection.
• Seven Valleys Health Coalition to develop a new fruit and vegetable prescription program to provide fresh produce to underserved rural residents, virtual nutrition/cooking classes and one-on-one diet counseling.
• United Way for Cortland County to provide allocations for technology enhancements.
Cortland County Bright Ideas is supported by the Fenstermacher Fund, the Nicholas and Agnes Renzi Charitable Fund, the Margaret and Roland Fragnoli Designated Fund, the Yaman Foundation, the Bertini Family Foundation, the Cortland Community Foundation, Brenda and Rod Comolli and other donors.
The Fenstermacher Fund, administered by the Community Foundation, served as a catalyst for the Bright Ideas program. Ted Fenstermacher was a prominent lawyer who was a chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg war crimes trials following World War II. The Fenstermacher Fund was established through his bequest in 2001.