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Buffalo woman battling the opioid epidemic from her car

Bringing training and kits to those in need
Rashone Scott-Williams rides around Buffalo's Riverside Neighborhood, battling the opioid epidemic
Posted at 6:14 AM, Apr 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-23 11:21:43-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — You'll see the stickers on her car or hear her coming down the street, Rashone Scott-Williams makes her presence known in Buffalo.

"No one raises their hand to say I need help, so what we do is try to meet a person where they’re at,” said Scott-Williams, Founder and CEO of Mobile Overdose Prevention Services (OPS).

She started the non-profit she started two years ago, after working with those struggling with addiction.

“I learned to love a population that most have thrown away," said Scott-Williams.

Scott-Williams takes overdose prevention on the go, with all the resources in her trunk
Scott-Williams takes overdose prevention on the go, with all the resources in her trunk

From 2019 to 2020, Erie county experienced a 57% increase in confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths, according to the county's opioid task force. 52% of opioid related deaths were in Buffalo.

The county identified Buffalo's Riverside neighborhood, the 14207 zip code, as one of the worst areas affected by the epidemic. So Scott-Willams rides around the neighborhood, offering help to those who need it and training others so they can do the same.

"Actually, I can train someone on the spot. There’s three things I like to teach, recognition, responding and reporting," said Scott-Williams.

Mobile OPS has free overdose prevention kits with Narcan
Mobile OPS has free overdose prevention kits with Narcan

She travels with any resources someone might need. Battling the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic and more.

"We are fighting COVID-19, HIV, STDs, food insecurity and opiate overdose all at the same time," said Scott-Williams.

She has volunteers, but says she needs more help to keep going.

"We are limited in our funding, we have received two COVID-19 grants, but we need help, we need help from larger organizations who also are fighting this fight," said Scott-Williams.

Save the Michaels of the World has been fighting here in WNY since 2011. Founder Avi Israel says he’d love to work with Scott-Williams, but they need help too.

"We’re not doing very good, COVID is in the way, restrictions are in the way, at the same time people are dying by larger numbers," said Israel.

Israel says he’s been waiting on funding from the state.

“We’re talking to legislators, what needs to be created is a special account the money will go to," said Israel.

While Israel works to secure funds, Scott-Williams is working on a goal of her own.

"I would like to have a Narcan kit in every household in WNY who has a first aid kit," said Scott-Williams.

And she’ll continue working toward that goal this Saturday at 4pm. She’s hosting a community event with Pizza Bella on Tonawanda Street.

She’s giving out free pizza, PPE, and overdose prevention training. This event is free to the public and will be held at Riverside Park.

You can donate to WNY Mobile OPS and find more information on their website, click here.

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