by Eden Laikin
Carle Place School District officials have joined a growing list of schools in Nassau to host a free Narcan Training and Drug Abuse Awareness event, presented by County mental health and chemical dependency professionals.
About 40 residents left the training on May 19, with the knowledge, ability and tools to save a life and with a wealth of information on how to access substance abuse treatment and recovery. Schools in Bellmore-Merrick, East Rockaway, Uniondale and Bethpage have held similar events.
In addition to learning how to recognize and reverse an Opiate overdose, residents who attended the event at the junior-senior high school heard from counselors representing local drug treatment agencies; officials who routinely place those struggling with drug addiction into residential rehabs; a case worker from the County’s drug court – an alternative to incarceration; a young woman who lost her brother to a Heroin overdose two years ago and a Garden City resident who is recovering from addiction.
Garden City resident Christopher Genovese has made it his life’s mission to share his struggles with addiction and recovery, with others who are still suffering. As he puts it, Chris contradicts the stereotype and stigma facing those addicted to drugs and puts a face on today’s “addict.”
National studies show that at least 20% of middle and high school students have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription; About 4.5 million American kids, aged 12 and older, reported abusing prescription drugs; while 1 in 3 teens report having a close friend who abuses RX pain relievers to get high.
Narcan or Naloxone can reverse the effects of an Opiate overdose and revive someone even if they have stopped breathing. No medical training is necessary and the antidote is administered through a simple nasal spray. An April 2006 NYS Public Health law removes any liability for those trained, to administer Narcan in an emergency. It is considered “first aid” the same way AEDs and epinephrine are. There have been no reported ill effects from administering Narcan and it has reversed hundreds of overdoses in NYS and thousands across the country.
Officials from the Nassau County Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services have already trained, and equipped, about 1,600 ordinary citizens to administer Narcan. All County police officers will be trained by July as will cadets coming out of the police academy. Narcan has been stocked on County ambulances for decades.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano urged other school officials to host a Narcan training for select staff and district parents.
“Most overdoses are linked to prescription drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin that are easily obtained from family, friends or straight from the medicine cabinet,” he said.
“Addiction is treatable and needn’t be fatal,” Mangano said.