By Eden Laikin
Nassau County has seen 8% fewer overdose deaths this year, over the same time last year – according to Police Department reports; those records also show an 8% increase in overdose reversals, or lives saved with Narcan, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced today.
As the nationwide opioid epidemic continues to devastate families and communities across the country, and the death tolls continue to rise, local advocates say that Nassau’s aggressive lifesaving efforts – namely its free Narcan training program – have begun to see a downturn.
Between January and October of 2016, police records of 911 calls show that 113 Nassau residents died from drug overdoses. As of October of this year, records show 104 fatal overdoses in the County. In at least 7 out of 10 cases, the victim overdosed at home.
Last year at this time, there were 311 overdose reversals –or lives saved with Narcan. This year, there were 353 saves in Nassau. Of the 353 lives saved in Nassau in 2017, police officers accounted for 123; police medics for 143; 24 by civilians, and 63 by outside ambulance and fire departments that reported the use of Narcan to Nassau County.
Nassau’s Office of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency became the first County agency in New York to be state-certified as an Overdose Responder Program, in September of 2012. Since then, county officials have trained more than 9,300 non-medically trained civilians – including family members of people with Substance Use Disorder, 911 operators, school officials and auxiliary police – to recognize an overdose and administer Narcan to reverse its potentially fatal effects. All Nassau patrol officers and police medics are trained and equipped with Narcan.
There will be 2 free public Narcan trainings in December. One at the Hispanic Counseling Center in Hempstead on Dec 8 from 10am-12 noon; and one at Great Neck South High School on Dec. 13 from 4:30pm-6:30pm. For more details on these or other trainings – or to sign up for either training – visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/overdosetraining.