Montrose, NY – New York State Sen. Pete Harckham hosted a naloxone training this week at the Cortlandt Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps / EMS headquarters here, giving both first responders and interested residents an opportunity to learn how to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Mandee Nann, 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 Cortlandt Ambulance Corps and OASAS for making this training possible.”
“With overdose deaths continuing to rise, it is imperative that everyone is trained in how to recognize and respond to an overdose,” said Nann. “Senator Harckham continues to be a driving force in bringing this education to the community and increasing access to naloxone. We are very grateful to have the support of Senator Harckham and his team.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 500,000 people died between 1999 and 2019 from an overdose involving an opioid, including both illicit and prescription drugs. In 2019, over 70% of the 70,630 overdose deaths involved an opioid. Last year, because of the isolation and despair caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, provisional CDC data showed that overdose death reached an all-time high of 93,331. The surge in deaths is partly attributable to the rise in use and prevalence of illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Eight of the nearly 20 participants of the naloxone training in Montrose were members of the Cortlandt Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps / EMS, noted Eric Singer, captain of the ambulance corps. The 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.
“This training took us past what we would normally receive in terms of instruction and detail,” said Singer. “Not only did we learn how to reverse an overdose with naloxone, we also were given an understanding of how overdoses occur. I appreciate Senator Harckham for arranging this training, and I suggest we keep holding more training sessions. This is something more people should know in order to save more lives.”
This was the fourth naloxone training Harckham has hosted since 2019. Participants at the Montrose training received an emergency kit with two doses of naloxone.