Press Release - Senator Ball's Heroin Forum and Narcan Overdose Training

 

NEARLY 200 ATTEND SENATOR BALL’S HEROIN ROUNDTABLE & NARCAN OVERDOSE TRAINING

Carmel, N.Y. – 04/25/2014 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) hosted a Homeland Security Drug Crisis Roundtable in conjunction with the Senate Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction on Thursday evening at the Paladin Center Tactical Training Facility in Carmel, NY.

“I was proud to team up with the Harm Reduction Coalition to offer free Narcan training. This miracle drug, if used correctly, has the potential to save lives,” said Senator Greg Ball. “The epidemic of heroin addiction plaguing our communities must be confronted head on. It is sickening to read and hear of the countless deaths in our community. We must get to the kids before it’s too late, talk is cheap, and what is needed is funding and resources. As legislators, we must do everything in our power to protect our children from drug addiction.”

Immediately following the roundtable, the Harm Reduction Coalition provided overdose prevention training. The training, which meets New York State Department of Health requirements, included recognition of Opioid overdose, administration of intranasal Narcan, and steps to take until EMS arrives. Close to 75 people participated in the training and received a certificate of completion and an emergency resuscitation kit that includes Narcan.

“Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that is safer than many over the counter medications. Harm Reduction Coalition has seen many lives saved through this intervention and are glad to be assisting Putnam County in implementing this program,” said Sharon Stancliff, Medical Director of the Harm Reduction Coalition.

Senator Greg Ball was recently named a member of the Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction. The bipartisan task force is chaired by Senator Phil Boyle (R-C-I, Suffolk County), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. Members are examining the issues and soliciting input from experts and other stakeholders about addiction prevention and treatment options, the rise in heroin and opioid use, and the potential for drug-related crimes and other negative community impacts. The task force will develop recommendations which will be used to draft legislation to address the issues raised.

“The numbers are staggering. Every day we hear of one heroin-related tragedy after another in our state,” said Senator Phil Boyle. “I applaud Senator Ball for his leadership in our statewide fight against heroin and opioid addiction. I also thank Greg for not only hosting our Heroin Task Force forum, but providing a free Narcan application training program for those who attend. This evening will save lives!”

“We need all-hands-on-deck to combat the heroin and prescription drug epidemic that’s threatening our kids and our communities. When I talk to law enforcement, parents, and school officials across the Hudson Valley, I hear stories of drug abuse ripping apart the families of far too many friends and neighbors – we must act now. Partnering together we can ensure that the law enforcement officials who are working to get drugs off the streets have the resources they need and that community organizations focused on prevention and treatment have our full support,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “Narcan, if safely administered during an overdose, will save lives, and working with the Harm Reduction Coalition, friends and loved ones can learn more about administering this life saving antidote.”

Senator David Carlucci, Chairman of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee said, “We can no longer ignore the fact that there exists a frightening heroin epidemic that is plaguing our communities and putting our children at risk.  Heroin does not discriminate and sadly affects too many New Yorkers irrespective of all backgrounds. Instead of turning a blind eye to a growing problem, now is the time to address solutions that will enable us to focus on prevention and treatment options for those who have fallen prey to addiction. This bipartisan task force will allow us to begin having a thoughtful discussion and solicit suggestions on how we can develop a comprehensive approach to rid ourselves from this deadly drug.”

Carol Christiansen, co-founder of Drug Crisis In Our Backyard, simply said, “Where there is life, there is still hope!”

“Tonight's event reminds us this epidemic has no boundaries,” said Yorktown Councilman Terrence Murphy. “As a parent, the stories of those who have had to bury their children rejuvenated my commitment to protecting the kids of the Hudson Valley.  One life lost to the War on Heroin is one life too many.”

Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith echoed Senator Ball’s concerns about the growing harm inflicted by heroin use and prescription drug abuse in the community. 

“Aggressive law enforcement efforts to stem the flow of illegal drugs and abused prescriptions is just one part of what is required to fight this scourge, that is the combined efforts of parents, government leaders, medical professionals, educators, counselors, and concerned citizens and community organizations,” said the Sheriff.

Sheriff Smith also noted that the Putnam County sheriff’s deputies, investigators, narcotics officers, and corrections officers have recently received training in administering the overdose antidote, Narcan, and it is expected that the kits will be distributed to those personnel over the next several days.

For more information, please contact jbachmei@nysenate.gov or (845) 531-9796