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Gonsalves Announces Certification of Nassau County to Administer Drug Prevention Program

Nassau County is the first county in the state to be certified to administer an Overdose Drug and Prevention Program.

Legis. Norma Gonsalves, R-East Meadow, recently announced that Nassau County has become the first county in New York State to have been granted certification to administer an Overdose Drug Prevention Program from the New York State Department of Health. 

The state certification allows the county to train employees and family members of at risk individuals in administering overdose reversal agents, known as Narcan or naloxone, to people who have ingested large amounts of narcotics and who are in a life threatening situation.

“I am extremely pleased that the Nassau County Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities has been granted this certification to operate an Opioid Overdose Program,” Gonsalves said.

Overdose reversal agents are prescription medicines that reverse an overdose by blocking heroin or other opioids in the brain for 30 to 90 minutes.  As part of the state certification, Nassau County will be provided with the agents at no cost to residents. 

This week, substance abuse organizations, governmental officials and at risk family members, will be eligible for training in administering the overdose reversal agents.

“We have lost too many of our sons and daughters to drug overdoses that could have been prevented," Gonsalves said.  "Hopefully, this certification will be another resource to assist us with protecting our communities.”

Do you think the program will be beneficial to East Meadow and the rest of  Nassau County? Tell us in the comments below.

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paul September 14, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Plenty of unanswered questions?????? Who makes this decision? OK, after a trained person administers a pill to a junkie then what? Who monitors this item in the county? Where is it gotten? Where is it maintained? This week, substance abuse organizations, governmental officials and at risk family members, will be eligible for training in administering the overdose reversal agents. Who is teaching this? Who is making this decision? And many many more questions arise....... To many unanswered questions..... Did Nassau County really sit down and figure this out?
eden laikin September 14, 2012 at 10:47 PM
The program and certification is with the NYS Health Department who provides the materials for free to registered programs. A state certified trainer came to us to train several of our chemical dependency officials as well as our EMTs. the program has a clinical and program director and policies and procedures. regular reports will be made to the state. at least 16 other cities across the country have begun Narcan training programs and saved thousands of lives. too many young people have died of overdoses without the chance to get help, recover and lead productive lives. last year in nassau, 119 died of prescription painkiller overdoses, mostly accidental. another 30 died from heroin overdoses.they are all someone's son or daughter or sibling or parent. the supplies will be maintained at the county's Opioid Treatment Program in East Meadow and recently trained staff will hold trainings for parents of at risk children. the county's trainers all work in its Mental Ilness and chemical dependency department. we gave much thought to this and researched it entirely. if you have any other questions, I can be reached at 516-571-6105. Eden Laikin Chair of the Nassau County Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force Office of the County Executive
paul September 15, 2012 at 01:59 AM
To eden laikin: Thank you for the response. Perhaps your explanation should have been the story... What makes this program different from other types of drug treatment programs? And yes we do have many more questions...... People on a high from heroin and other drugs do get administered certain other drugs to keep them in a stable condition. Why is this new? Oh yes and one more question: What is "Chair of the Nassau County Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force"? When did we get that position...? Just asking..... ;o)
Scott A. Farber September 15, 2012 at 01:44 PM
Hi Paul, The medication that this program is using is called Narcan. It is a rescue drug used to reverse the effects of narcotics like heroin, OxyContin, hydrocodone, etc. in an overdose situation. It is the same medication carried on ambulances. It should not be confused with drugs such as methadone which are used to help treat substance abuse. The biggest side affect of opioid overdose is respiratory depression and most die from asphyxiation. Narcan acts to block the narcotic's affect on the brain and thereby "neutralize" it. It is a fairly benign medication and is used quite routinely by paramedics and doctors to "rule out" narcotic overdose. This medication, which is liquid, can be sprayed up the nose and get absorbed through the mucous membrane into the blood stream. Its affects are quite rapid. If you may recall, this is the same medication that has been carried by the Suffolk County Police Department and is responsible for saving quite a few lives recently. Hope this answers some questions.
paul September 15, 2012 at 02:16 PM
To Scott A Farber: Thank you for the response. Not sure if it was worded properly in the story but it states: "This week, substance abuse organizations, governmental officials and at risk family members, will be eligible for training in administering the overdose reversal agents." Sounds like just about anyone can ask for it and get it...... Ok, so what happens when an at risk family member is trained. They utilize the Narcan on the at risk individual and then what. Why is a family member being trained to do this? What is the obligation for the family member trained in the use in Narcan once administered..... After Narcan is utilized doesn't the person still need to go to the hospital and authorities notified? Yes more questions...
paul September 15, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I am still trying to figure out what this is: What is "Chair of the Nassau County Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force"? When did we get that position...? Just asking..... ;o)
Scott A. Farber September 15, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Sorry Paul. I was only answering as a paramedic with experience in administering Narcan. I have no information on this particular program. I can say, however, that after administration the individual needs to go to the hospital. The amount and strength of the drug the person overdosed on may outlast the effects of the Narcan so repeated doses may be required. In regard to notifying authorities; that's not something that is normally required in an overdose situation. I would probably liken this to family members being trained to administer an EpiPen if someone in their family had a peanut allergy, for example. I imagine that this program could also potentially benefit those who, because of severe debilitating medical conditions, are taking potent pain medications. Accidental overdoses do happen and family members could be trained to have this antidote on hand in case of such an occurrence.
paul September 15, 2012 at 07:46 PM
To Scott A Farber: Really??? "Accidental overdoses do happen and family members could be trained to have this antidote on hand in case of such an occurrence." Hospital and 911.... PERIOD.....
Helen Meittinis September 16, 2012 at 04:31 PM
The key is Legislator Gonsalves has reached out to our community with vital information. Communication is welcoming to many of our friends & neighbors who suffer the fear that their child will die of an overdose. These parents are living a life of hell and the unknown fact is where & when this nightmare will occur. Most overdose deaths happen in the beds of their own homes when paramedics such as Scott are called to the scene. I repeat....most, not all. However, any and all information afforded to those who need this and also to those who do not is quite frankly.....education. It can only lead to saving some lives that would normally expire. As a community leader and a proponent of drug education to all, I applaud the steps taken by the county to advance forward in this very sad and rampant problem.
Helen Meittinis September 16, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Many drug programs that have been presented especially the dynamic ones that Leg. Gonsalves has brought to us, have been poorly attended at times. Not My Child is one of them, which is presented by the N.C. District Attorney's office. Parents have reached out to me over the years that wanted this type of program. Then when it it is brought to us, I am shocked that those are the very people who do not show up. I think everyone who needs it now or perhaps for the future, should be informed. So much of this we do not know although we THINK we do. I too have been amazed at some of the information provided. This is a great step in the right direction to save lives and families. Thank you East Meadow Patch for being the conduit that delivered the good news to us. And finally, thank you Nassau County for having the good sense to put us on the forefront of overdose drug prevention. Helen Meittinis
paul September 16, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Still many more questions........ What is the responsibility of the family member etc who may administer the Narcan? Hospital, 911, and possibly an arrest as it should be if it is applicable... Is it an election year? Just asking.....
David September 18, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Why do you all keep bothering to respond to this person? This is what he always does. Questions EVERYTHING and when he is not questioning, he's complaining and complaining more. Then when all else fails, he asks if it's an election year. He will never be satisfied with your responses. Look at his history on the Patch. At least he hasn't insulted you yet. Give him time.
paul September 18, 2012 at 09:53 PM
To David: Just to educate you a bit and it is not an insult against you unless you deem it so, it is called creative writing witha bit of wisdom. Perhaps you do not not see it that way but all I am doing is asking a question. Tell me why a question is not good??? I know you don't have the answer now do you... Perhaps you need some more education on the art of asking a question. Sit back take notes and someday you may be somebody.....

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