Advancing Health Equity

Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. In order to achieve optimal health, barriers to healthy living and well-being need to be addressed. This requires removing obstacles to health, such as poverty, discrimination, and other inequities, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.

Empowering all Americans to have access to quality healthcare solutions.

Quick Facts
88%

Fatal overdoses involved the use of synthetic opioids [1]

411+

Per 100k people are affected with HIV in the Northeast [2]

2x

Overdose death rate for Black people within areas of income inequality [3]

Our Services

Opioid Overdose Prevention Program

Our experts teach clients, community members, providers, and law enforcement to recognize overdoses and administer Narcan. But that's not all – we're delivering hope and action by distributing free Narcan kits to those we equip, turning bystanders into lifesavers.

Syringe Exchange Program

We're your dedicated partner, providing essential services in harm reduction, counseling, and education for safer practices. Beyond education, we create pathways to higher services, advocate for substance users and HIV-positive individuals, and champion HIV/AIDS awareness. Additionally, we offer referrals for treatment, legal needs, and family planning, ensuring holistic well-being.

Our Location

Urban League of Westchester
4 Wilson Place
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
914-699-5857

FAQs

Discover essential insights and practical strategies to prioritize harm reduction for community safety and well-being.

How can I start my journey?

Our intake process is designed to ensure your safety and provide you with the appropriate resources and support. To initiate the process, you must be present in person to assess your specific needs and provide you with tailored guidance. If applicable, you will receive necessary supplies and a unique ID card, which can be essential if you have syringes with residue to help prevent any legal issues. Walk-ins are welcome!

What are opioids?

Opioids are natural or synthetic chemicals that reduce feelings of pain. Common prescription opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin®, Norco®)
  • Oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • Morphine (e.g., MS Contin®, Kadian®)
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl

These web pages will help you learn more about prescription opioids:

What should I consider before taking opioids?

Prescription opioids can be used to treat pain, but there is very limited evidence that they are effective for long-term use. If you’re prescribed an opioid, the best approach is to try the lowest possible dose in the smallest quantity. Opioids should only be used for as long as necessary. Generally, for acute pain (pain lasting less than one month), opioids are rarely needed for more than 7 days and often for 3 days or less. Before taking opioid medication for pain:

  • Set treatment goals with your clinician for pain and function in your daily life.
  • Talk to your doctor about pain treatment options, including ones that do not involve prescription opioids.
  • Discuss the risks and benefits of opioid therapy.
  • Talk openly with your doctor to make sure you’re getting care that is safe, effective, and right for you.
  • Tell your doctor about your medical history and if you or anyone in your family has a history of substance use disorder (SUD).

Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. You may also develop tolerance—meaning that over time you might need higher doses to relieve your pain, putting you at higher risk for a potentially fatal overdose. You can also develop physical dependence—meaning you have withdrawal symptoms when the medication is stopped. To help reduce your risk:

  • Never take prescription opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.
  • Always let your doctor know about any side effects or concerns you have about using opioids.
  • Avoid taking opioids with alcohol and other substances or medications. It is very dangerous to combine opioids with other drugs, especially those that cause drowsiness, such as: Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax® and Valium®), Muscle relaxants (such as Soma® or Flexeril®), Sleep aids (such as Ambien® or Lunesta®), and Other prescription opioids
  • Do not share or sell your prescription opioids.
  • Store prescription opioids in a secure place, out of reach of others (including children, family, friends, and visitors).
  • Dispose of unused prescription opioids at the end of your treatment. Find your community drug take-back program or your pharmacy mail-back program, or flush them down the toilet following guidance from the Drug Disposal: FDA’s Flush List for Certain Medicines | FDA
What are signs of an overdose?

Recognizing an opioid overdose can be difficult. If you aren’t sure, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose—you could save a life. Call 911 or seek medical care for the individual. Do not leave the person alone. Signs of an overdose may include:

  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Pale, blue, or cold skin
What resources do you provide for HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

Your well-being is our priority, and we're here to assist you in accessing the right resources. We can provide information and make referrals for testing and consultations to help you make informed decisions about your sexual health.

What is the difference between PrEP and PEP?

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) are two distinct HIV prevention methods. PrEP is recommend for high risk individuals and involves taking medication regularly to prevent HIV infection before exposure, while PEP is a treatment taken after potential exposure to HIV. If you have questions about PrEP and PEP or are considering these options, we can provide information and make referrals for testing and consultations.

Still have questions?

Get in touch with one of our educators.

914-699-5857

[1] Hedegaard, Holly, et al. Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2020 Key Findings Data from the National Vital Statistics System. Dec. 2021.
[2] CDC. “Basic Statistics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, 21 June 2022, www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/statistics.html.
[3] CDC. “Overdose Deaths Rise, Disparities Widen.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 July 2022, www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/overdose-death-disparities/index.html.