April 14, 2016

Free Narcan Training Provided to a Full House of Attendees at New Dorp High School

Senator Andrew Lanza and Assemblyman Michael Cusick today sponsored a free opioid overdose prevention event at New Dorp High School to train Staten Islanders to prevent heroin and opiate overdoses from becoming fatal by using intra-nasal Naloxone (Narcan). Naloxone, a highly effective prescription antidote used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, has been credited with saving hundreds of lives in New York.

Community Health Action of Staten Island provided training to over 500 attendees at New Dorp this evening who learned to recognize heroin and opiate overdoses and prevent them from becoming fatal by administering Naloxone. Upon completion of the course, participants became certified to administer the life saving antidote and were provided with Naloxone rescue kits to bring home.

Senator Andrew Lanza said, “As we attempt to address the underlying issues driving the alarming growth in heroin and opiate abuse and work to expand available treatment, it is critical that we do whatever we can to keep our family members, friends and neighbors alive. With overdoses now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, we have to do everything we can to ensure that this free, life-saving training is made available to as many people as possible. I thank my partners Assemblyman Mike Cusick, Community Health Action of Staten Island and New Dorp High School and applaud tonight’s participants for their hard work.”

Assemblyman Mike Cusick said, “As Staten Island continues to struggle with the scourge of drug abuse it is essential that we equip our neighbors with the tools and knowledge on how to save someone experiencing an overdose. While we recognize that this training does not treat the root cause of the drug abuse problem, we cannot ignore  the reality of our current situation. Through these trainings, we seek to not only educate and equip people with the tools to save a life, but we want to inform people of the dangers of these drugs, how they adversely affect your life and your relationships, and how essential it is to spread the word on avoiding drug use in the first place. I want to thank my partners in government,  particularly Senator Lanza, along with Community Health Action of Staten Island and tonight’s host, New Dorp High School.”

Deirdre A. DeAngelis, Principal of New Dorp High School said, “Staten Island is a very small community and what impacts one family, usually impacts many families.  The recent epidemic of opioid abuse and the large number of lives that have been lost, has effected all of us.  Unfortunately, I believe that if we look through the most recent yearbooks of the high schools on Staten Island, we would be able to identify one or more graduates that have tragically lost their life because of this epidemic.  This is a serious issue and we need to come together to combat it, but we have to be armed with tools to combat it.  Tonight, participants of this Narcan training walked away with knowledge, resources and local support and were armed with tools that can be utilized in this battle against opioid addiction.”

Diane Arneth, President/CEO of CHASI said, “Community Health Action, whose mission is to bring communities back to health, is pleased to partner with Senator Lanza, Assemblyman Cusick, New Dorp High School and all those who supported this important event to provide life-saving information and training to families in our borough dealing with the devastating disease of addiction.”

Angela Attanasio,  Associate Vice President of Harm Reduction and Addiction Services at CHASI said, “I am truly touched and inspired by the courage displayed by all of the participants at tonight’s event. We are finally breaking through the silence and stigma related to addiction. The Staten Island Community needs to know there is help available on all levels. We need to continue speaking up and courageously fight against this dreadful disease!”

In 2014, Lanza and Cusick co-sponsored and passed a law that authorized health care professionals to issue non-patient specific orders for Naloxone and allow for events such as this. The legislation (Chapter .42 of 2014) has been instrumental in increasing access to the highly effective antidote.