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Westchester Offers Free Overdose Response Training

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, coaches residents as they practice administering Narcan.
Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, coaches residents as they practice administering Narcan. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- As part of his Safer Communities initiative, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino encourages residents to attend one of the county’s upcoming Narcan, a lifesaving antidote used to revive heroin and prescription painkiller overdose victims, training sessions.

Residents who participate learn how to administer Narcan and are given a free kit. “By bringing Narcan training to residents, we are adding to the pool of potential responders who are ready and able to save lives,” Astorino said. “Expanding this training beyond law enforcement is crucial, because the heroin and narcotic addiction crisis isn’t going away anytime soon.”

Narcan, which is the brand name for the drug Naloxone, has recently been made available to the general public. County health officials have already trained hundreds of local police in the use of Narcan, including those credited with saving more than a dozen lives in the past year.

Under Astorino’s leadership, Narcan training was added to the curriculum for all police recruits who attend the Westchester County Police Academy. When administered correctly, the nasal spray Narcan restores breathing that has been dangerously slowed by an overdose of heroin or prescription painkillers.

Wednesday marked the county’s third public training session since mid-May, and 17 residents participated. So far, more than 60 residents and about 500 police officers have been trained and given the tools needed to respond to an overdose of heroin or prescription painkillers.

Anyone age 18 or older can participate in the free county training sessions. Residents can register for the trainings online at health.westchestergov.com or by calling (914) 995-6584. The next three county training sessions are as follows:

  • Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. at the Westchester County Office Building in Mt. Vernon
  • Sept. 24 at 2 p.m. at the Health Department's Mt. Kisco District Office
  • Oct. 19, 6 p.m. at the Hendrick Hudson Free Library,

"Family and friends of those struggling with addiction often feel helpless and the worst case scenario of a fatal overdose is always looming,” said Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of Health, who writes the standing orders that cover the prescriptions needed for the county to participate in the New York State Opioid Overdose Prevention Program. “By learning how to reverse an overdose, family and friends can be confident they would be able to revive their loved one and give him or her time to seek treatment."

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