Issued by: Council Member Anthony D'Esposito
Responding to a study that details an alarming increase in the number of kids, both youngsters and teens, who require hospital treatment for accidental opioid-related poisonings, along with overdoses from intentional use, Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito is scheduling an opioid poisoning prevention program and is offering safety tips for parents, grandparents, caregivers and guardians. Joined by Dr. David Neubert, the township’s Narcan training coordinator, as well as Island Park School District Superintendent Rosmarie Bovino and school district officials, D’Esposito discussed his plan to deal with the rapid increase in child opioid ingestion.
“The opioid crisis in our area and across the nation is heartbreaking,” stated D’Esposito. “The fact that children under six years of age are falling victim to opioids underscores the severity of the situation, and the issue demands strong and immediate action.”
The Councilman, who has hosted dozens of Narcan training sessions to help the public to save opioid overdose victims, is now taking new steps to help the youngest victims of the effects of both illicit and prescription opioids, as well as other drugs. In specific, D’Esposito and Neubert will be hosting a special opioid poisoning prevention program geared toward parents, grandparents, babysitters, caregivers and guardians. The session will discuss the dangers of opioid poisoning, emphasizing special risks for children. Additionally, the program will detail practical safeguards, tips and educational steps parents and others can take to protect kids.
D’Esposito has announced that he will host his first Child Opioid/Drug Poisoning Prevention program at the Island Park PTA meeting on April 23rd at Lincoln Orens Middle School in Island Park starting at 7 p.m. The program is targeted toward parents, grandparents, caregivers, guardians, teachers and other adults who supervise and watch children in home settings.
“By taking simple precautions, you can save a youngster’s life from the perils of drug poisoning,” stated D’Esposito. “As an NYPD Detective, I know the importance of locking guns in the home to safeguard kids. By not having a medication safe with a lock in your home, you are exposing your children to the same type of deadly dangers associated with unlocked and unsecured firearms.”
D’Esposito and Neubert discussed some sobering facts on children and opioid poisoning and overdoses. The number of opioid-related hospitalizations requiring PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) care at 31 major hospitals between 2004 and 2015 totaled 3,647. One third of those hospitalizations were of children under the age of six years old. The number of opioid-related hospitalizations requiring PICU care doubled between 2004 and 2015. Poisonings from prescription medications continue to be a major cause of morbidity among children. Even in children under six years of age, opioids now account for the majority of drug poisonings.
D’Esposito’s program comes on the heels of the Surgeon General’s pronouncement that everyday Americans should start carrying Narcan. This was the office’s first public health advisory in more than a decade, a clear indication of how prevalent opioid overdoses have become.
“It’s evident that opioid overdoses are not just haunting adults and older teenagers,” said D’Esposito. “I am urging parents, caregivers and grandparents to attend this program and learn how to protect youngsters from the ravages of opioids and other drugs.”