Mahopac, NY – New York State Sen. Pete Harckham hosted a naloxone training on Wednesday, Apr. 13 at the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department headquarters here on Route 6, giving both first responders and interested residents an opportunity to learn how to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Christopher Caulfield, 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 administering of naloxone, a powerful opioid antagonist, and instruction in rescue breathing.
“The opioid overdose epidemic that our country is experiencing right now necessitates that residents in our communities are ready and have the means to help save a life whenever possible,” said Harckham. “The naloxone training offered by OASAS simply increases the number of people who know how to administer an opioid antagonist, and I am grateful to the Mahopac Volunteer Fire Department and OASAS for making this training possible.”
Lauren Johnson, community engagement facilitator for the Prevention Council of Putnam, also took part in the event, and said, “We are proud to be part of the wide distribution of naloxone through Putnam County, and truly appreciate Senator Harckham’s strong and continued support of our efforts with harm reduction strategies.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 700,000 people died between 1999 and 2021 from an overdose involving an opioid, including both illicit and prescription drugs. Because of continuing isolation and despair caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, provisional CDC data showed that overdose death reached an all-time high of 100,306 for the 12-month period ending in April 2021, with 75,673 of the overdose deaths involving an opioid. The surge in deaths is partly attributable to the rise in use and prevalence of illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
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 five naloxone training sessions since 2019. Participants at the Mahopac training received an emergency kit with two doses of naloxone.