Town of Hempstead Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito distributed life-saving drug overdose prevention kits to key town personnel during a press conference at Town Park Point Lookout. The recipients of the kits were trained at a course sponsored by the New York State Opioid Overdose Program and Harm Reduction Coalition. The Narcan kits can quickly reverse the effects of a narcotic overdose and will combat heroin deaths.Narcan training and equipping the town’s emergency response with the opioid reversal drug are at the core of Santino’s effort to prevent heroin deaths. Town of Hempstead Medical Director Dr. Dave Neubert was also on hand to demonstrate how to use the Narcan kits.
“Heroin abuse continues to devastate families across our town and our nation,” Santino said. “Training our Public Safety Officers and other emergency responders to administer Narcan can save a life and give a second chance to someone in need. Working together, we can help beat the scourge of heroin.”
“I have seen firsthand the horror of drug abuse as a former law enforcement official,” D’Esposito said. “If we can save one life, then this program will be a success. My hope is that with more education and by spreading the word of the dangers of drug abuse, we can eliminate the need for this type of program.”
Hempstead Town staff members have specialized qualifications and experience in dealing with medical emergencies through its Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) squad. The unit, based at the town’s oceanfront beaches, includes EMTs and advanced paramedics who respond to a host of safety and medical calls at the township’s beaches. These professionals can deal with issues such as heroin overdose, and they also have the training and credentials to interact with local hospitals and ambulance corps. They also possess lifeguard training, patrolling beaches for ocean rescues and related emergencies.
After Town of Hempstead lifeguards saved an overdose victim earlier this year, the Supervisor wanted to ensure that the town’s first responders would continue to have access to life-saving medication. The Town of Hempstead has since been designated as an opioid overdose prevention trainer by the New York State Department of Health. Personnel from key town departments were trained, and the overdose prevention kits will be issued to:
- Pool, bay and ocean lifeguards
- Public Safety Department
- Parks Department
- Bay Constables
- Other vital personnel at Town Hall
The 250 kits that will be distributed to these essential departments will help reinforce the efforts of Town of Hempstead EMS, whose medical personnel have carried Narcan for the past two years.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more overdose deaths in 2014 than any previous year on record, and the number of deaths involving opioids has quadrupled since 1999. From 2000 to 2014, nearly 500,000 people nationwide died from drug overdose.
“No community is immune from the ravages of heroin abuse,” concluded Santino. “Armed with employees who are trained to administer Narcan, we can save lives and help people to take the first step in the road to recovery.”