By Eden Laikin
Mineola, NY – Nassau officials announced today that the number of drug overdose deaths in Nassau County has begun to decrease, while the numbers throughout NYS and across the nation continue to rise faster than ever. Mangano also said that 13% more people were saved with Naloxone (Narcan) this year over last year. Even as the powerful synthetic opioid, Fentanyl, and its newly discovered analogues, are blamed for more and more deaths every day, Nassau County saw 6 fewer residents die from overdoses between January and September 2017, compared to the same 9-month period in 2016.
Unintentional drug overdose deaths in Manhattan are up 46% citywide. Suffolk County, at last report, had the most deaths per capita of any county in New York State.
Advocates believe that Nassau County’s positive downturn is due, in part, to its aggressive training program in the use of Narcan for its residents to save the life of someone overdosing on opioids. More than 9,700 “civilians” have been trained to administer Narcan since Nassau became a state certified Overdose Responder program in September 2012. All of Nassau’s first responders are also trained. Each participant in the free training received a Narcan kit, courtesy of the NYS Health Department.
Statistics from the Nassau County Medical Examiner’s Office show that 137 people in the County died from overdoses between January and September 2016, and 131 during that same time period in 2017—a 4.5% decrease. Meanwhile, Nassau police and other first responders, and civilians we’ve trained, together saved 13% more people from potentially fatal overdoses with Narcan, from the first 10 months of 2016 to the same time this year. 311 lives were saved from January through October 2016, and 353 between January and October 2017.
For all of 2016, Nassau saw a total of 195 opioid overdose deaths, according to the medical examiner, while Suffolk County reported more than 330 opioid deaths. Nearly half of the opioid-related deaths on Long Island were caused by Fentanyl or one of its analogues, statistics show. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this year that Fentanyl is helping to make the nation’s current drug epidemic the deadliest in U.S. history.