ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — October is Substance Abuse Prevention Month — a time for awareness strategies to help those in need or give guidance for loved ones.

Leaders in the movement are currently focused on providing life-saving medications and tips. This includes expanding the reach of fentanyl strips to test for the substance, or Narcan, which helps to reverse an overdose.

News 8 spoke with Chinazo Cunningham, the commissioner of the State Office of Addiction Services and Support, about the efforts of her office to prevent substance abuse.

“We’re in the worst overdose epidemic ever on record, so in New York State over 6,300 people died of an overdose in 2022 and those are provisional numbers,” Cunningham said. “We’re also really focused on bringing services to where people are and reducing barriers. That looks like street outreach. That looks like mobile medication units, going out and providing services to communities and reaching those that are most marginalized.”

The office currently works with about 1,700 programs across the state by authorizing, regulating, and supporting proper outreach methods. If you or someone you know is struggling you can call the national hotline at 1-800-662-4357.