Overdose Intervention: New Program Coming to the Hudson Valley

A new state law may help first responders in the region slow down the region's rapidly increasing rate of deaths from overdosing on heroin or other opiods such as oxycodone.

“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,” said state Senator Greg Ball, one of the co-sponsors of the bill to allow a drug called nalaxone to be administered by police officers.

Naloxone, an intranasal prescription medication, has proven to be effective in reversing the effects of an opioid drug overdose. 

Opioid drugs include, but are not limited to, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, and codeine. 

Intranasal naloxone is generally effective within five to ten minutes of administration. If an individual was suffering from an opioid drug overdose, intranasal naloxone will cause that person to regain consciousness and resume normal breathing.

Ball said more lives could be saved if Naloxone was available to addicts, their families and other people likely to be in a position to assist a person at risk of an opioid-related overdose. 

The first police department to be trained to administer Naloxone is our region is in Rockland County. 

Clarkstown Police Department has entered into partnership with the Rockland Paramedic Services, Inc., a registered NYS Department of Health Opioid Overdose Prevention Program,  for the pilot program.

joshua tanner April 04, 2014 at 03:33 PM
Some people like to run around saying "the war on drugs is a falure" because they think it makes them smart. If legal heroin was $10 a bag the drug problem for kids would disapper? There was no local heroin epidemic and deaths five years ago despite "drug war" then too. The problem is millions of people are allowed to cross borders and run all around the country doing as they please - including selling cheap lethal drugs. Terrorists are also allowed to run over borders and just wait until the emerging war in Mid East kicks up and they go into action. Americans have become very dumb imo
DANI GARAVITo April 05, 2014 at 02:01 PM
I find it very difficult to have sympathy for someone who does drugs. Giving a false concept about Narcan and telling folks it's going to save them, is false hope. Especially when drugs can be laced with other stuff where Narcan doesn't work. Why promote the "safe" use of drugs by providing an antidote that may not always work. I have a better idea: don't do drugs. Also, in many of our suburban areas the emergency services don't get called until someone is dead, found by mom and dad the next morning after the overdose. This is about education, not enabling our young people to do drugs and think it will all be ok if something happens because a cop will give them a nose full of Narcan.
John D of Brewster April 07, 2014 at 09:54 AM
The police already carry heart defibrillators for our bacon/egg/cheese eating residents. In NY the State Police performed 170 saves out of 1095 attempts, or ~15%. Those 15% now mostly eat oatmeal and steamed broccoli for breakfast. Giving Nalaxone to the cops is no different in my view, and may result in a loser resident turning his life around for the good of all in the community. I'm no fan of drug abusing losers, but if the cops are going to show up anyway then they might as well try and save a life, even if it will be a very small percentage. I think this once again opens the debate on the readiness of our EMT/Paramedic services, not just for overdoses but for all medical emergencies. We keep increasing the expectations of our Police services but appear to continue to ignore our ambulances. Maybe it's time to give our EMT's some more responsibility or hire another paramedic or two.
DANI GARAVITo April 07, 2014 at 12:03 PM
John D makes a great point. EMS has always been treated as an after-thought, or the red headed child of emergency services. Demanding that our local municipalities place some pressure on the local volunteer agencies to staff and respond quickly and appropriately would also be a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, too few people are willing to go to battle to demand a better and appropriate EMS response, whether that's a volunteer staffed ambulance or paid. Folks pay a hell of a lot of taxes in NYS, but get very very few municipal resources to show for it - especially when it comes to EMS.


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