But, parents of those who died from overdoses say “one’s too many” and we must keep doing all that we can to stop the untimely deaths.
In Mid 2012, Nassau’s Office of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency took the unprecedented step of becoming certified to teach non-medically trained people how to save the life of someone overdosing, with an antidote called Narcan or Naloxone.
Since then, Mangano’s staff has trained nearly 1,000 mothers, fathers, siblings, students and other “ordinary citizens” not only how to administer Narcan - intra-nasally, but also how to recognize signs of an overdose and to first attempt rescue breathing.
While Narcan has been used by AMTs in ambulances, and in hospital emergency rooms, for decades, it’s a little known 2006 state law that allows any individual who receives the 60-90 minute Narcan training and gets a prescription for the medication, to administer it in an emergency without liability. There have been no reported ill effects from Narcan, if in fact the person was overdosing on a drug other than an Opioid. At least 16 other states throughout the country have been providing Narcan training to residents for several years.
Those who have been trained by Nassau’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse educator, Felicia Schneberg, have expressed their gratitude for the availability of the training as well as for the free Narcan kits the County has been able to disseminate, thanks to the state’s Department of Health.
Liz M., an R.N., commented in an email after her being trained: “I loved the training and am so happy I got it! Narcan saved the life of someone very, very near and dear to me and if I can do that for someone else I want to be able. I think we have got to spread the word and get more people "aware and trained." … I thought the format you used was great… Opiate abuse is rampant and everybody knows somebody who has firsthand experience or who knows someone else who has a loved one at risk of losing their life through overdose. We MUST act now to protect the lives of those who are at risk! … I want to have whatever is possible if the need arises and a life can be saved. I can't imagine how awful it would be if I knew the antidote was out there but I didn't have access to it. So many others do not know the antidote or training is so easy…
Patricia H, parent of an addict said: “Both my husband and I felt the program was very well done and informative. All the speakers that night were excellent and although I wish we did not have to be there for this subject matter, the amount of people there proved that this type of training is badly needed. We thank everyone there for their commitment to helping these lost souls.”
Andrew R, a high school health teacher: “Thank you Nassau County for seeing the need for this training, especially for individuals, who might be able to save their child's or another child's life! We have students with addiction problems in our community and any way I may help a student or staff member is a great asset to the district. Thank you so much for the training.”
Andy L, concerned resident: “I just wanted to thank you for this great program. You guys are saving lives and cannot be thanked enough.”
Emma A, parent: “As a concerned parent, I was very impressed by the Narcan training event that I attended... Your knowledge, expertise, professionalism, dedication and ability to get the message out there, is to be commended. I would definitely recommend this program to any other concerned parent that is struggling with this terrible disease within their family…A special thank you should go out to Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano, for his leadership and understanding how important it is to get the word out.”
Geri M., nurse: “Thank you for the Narcan class. I learned so much that night….and I shared it with all the people I work with. Now they want to get trained.”