New York State Senator Pete Harckham, along with Westchester County Legislator Erika Pierce and the North Salem Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NSVAC), hosted a naloxone training on Thursday, Apr. 20, giving both first responders and interested residents an opportunity to learn how to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
“In order for someone to enter recovery, first and foremost, they must be alive,” said Harckahm. “A person equipped with naloxone and the training to use it properly can literally give someone a new lease on life and the opportunity to enter recovery.”
The training was held at NSVAC headquarters here on Daniel Road at the request of Kurt Guldan, emergency coordinator for the ambulance corps.
“The opioid overdose epidemic is a disaster of epic proportions, and we must fight back against it with everything we have,” said Gulden. “An ordinary individual, with some training and naloxone, can do something extraordinary–save a life. This naloxone training increases the number of people who know how to administer an opioid antagonist and reverse an overdose. I appreciate Senator Harckham and Legislator Pierce for making this training available in our community.”
Mandee Nan, an opioid overdose outreach training specialist with the state’s Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) based in Albany, led the two-and-a-half hour training session, which focused on both the administration of naloxone, a powerful opioid antagonist, and instruction in rescue breathing.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 100,000 people died from a drug overdose in 2021, mostly from opioids. The surge in deaths is partly attributable to the rise in use and prevalence of illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl and other adulterants are now increasingly common, making an overdose all too easy.
The naloxone training participants learned how to administer naloxone as a pre-packaged, FDA-approved nasal spray. More first responders are being trained to use naloxone, and families with members with an opioid use disorder should have the opioid antagonist nearby. People should still call 911 in the event of an overdose.
Harckham has hosted eight naloxone training sessions since 2019. Participants at the North Salem training received an emergency kit with two doses of naloxone.
“Almost everyone has known someone who has died from an overdose, but we are not helpless in the face of this plague affecting our communities,” said Pierce, “I encourage everyone who can to learn how to administer naloxone and keep some handy. You never know whose life you could save.”