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Opioid Event Focuses on Awareness and Overdose Prevention

Filed in Community/PACT, Events, News, Parents by on September 29, 2017 • views: 120
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A crowd of parents, first responders and community leaders gathered in the Daronco Town House in September 26th to learn about opioid addiction and what communities like Pelham can do to combat it. The event was con-sponsored by Pelham PACT, Senator Jeff Klein and the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

“This is an epidemic we’ve never seen before, both across the country and here in New York” said Senator Klein. “It’s upstate, downstate and everywhere in between.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, claiming more lives per year than either motor-vehicles accidents or gun violence. Much of the rise in drug overdose fatalities are due to the use of opioids, including prescription pain killers like Vicodin and Oxycontin, street drugs like heroin, and synthetic opioids like Fentanyl. Over 60% of overdoses deaths involve opioids.

While the focus of the event was on opioid awareness, it also included a naloxone training demonstration by Steven Fusco a trainer from OASAS who also works at the Bronx Addiction Treatment Center. Naloxone, better known by its brand name, Narcan, is an opiate antidote that can reverse an overdose. Administered nasally, nalaxone can revive a person who is overdosing and keep them conscious for a period of 30-90 minutes, long enough to get them to a hospital for treatment.

“Naloxone does one thing and one thing only: it saves lives,” said Fusco.

Since 2010, 6,200 lives have been saved in New York State by administering naloxone. In Pelham, both village police departments have officers trained to administer naloxone in the event of an overdose. In the coming weeks, each officer in the Village of Pelham Manor will carry the antidote, and plans are also in place for all Village of Pelham officers to carry naloxone kits. The Pelham Fire Department already carries the kits in their vehicles.

Moreover, citizens who are interested can obtain the kits themselves. Everyone who was present at the awareness event was able to leave with a kit; anyone interested can also obtain one at a local pharmacy that is authorized to carry and prescribe them, including the CVS on Boston Post Road in Pelham Manor.

“People are dying,” said Fusco. “We have to get word out that these kits are there and available.”

Fusco also stressed that Good Samaritan laws in New York State protect anyone who attempts to administer naloxone to save a life, or who attempts to contact help on behalf of someone who is overdosing, or suffering from alcohol poisoning—an important message parents should share with teens.

For more information about opioids, naloxone, or Good Samaritan laws contact Pelham PACT at http://www.pelhampact.org.

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