Publish Date: 4/13/2017
RELEASE: County Law Enforcement Saves Life Using Opioid Overdose Training
Following County Training, Sheriff’s Deputies Administer Naloxone In Overdose Situation
FONDA — County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort announced, on Thursday, that county law enforcement and first responders recently underwent an opioid overdose prevention program training. The county is now certified by the state of New York to operate an opioid overdose prevention program. With this certification, the county can hold trainings, issue naloxone kits and trained staff can take action in an overdose situation.
This training has already proved beneficial. On Saturday, April 8, deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department used their newly issued naloxone kits to save a man’s life. The deputies responded to a call in the Town of Mohawk, witnessed someone experiencing overdose symptoms and, along with the ambulance crew that arrived on scene, revived him by administering naloxone, known by the brand name narcan.
“The opioid epidemic is a serious public safety concern,” Ossenfort said. “Having those who are typically first on scene trained to administer this life-saving drug will help in the fight against overdose fatalities, as we just recently saw. This is another county initiative aimed at providing our first responders and law enforcement men and women with the tools they need to do the job of keeping us safe. I also want residents to know that the county is here to provide help and resources to those struggling with addiction and to their families.”
Earlier this year, employees from the departments of Probation, the Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, Public Health and Mental Health went through an opioid overdose prevention program training on how to properly administer narcan. Now, any of these trained employees can react to an overdose situation by administering narcan to attempt to reverse an opioid overdose, while an ambulance is being dispatched.
The training was held at the new Emergency Operations Center at the Public Safety Facility, in Fultonville. Administered through the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), this training is certified by the New York State Department of Health as an Opioid Overdose Prevention Program. The training was provided by a sergeant from the Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office and was taken by members of the Amsterdam Police Department, in addition to the county staff that was present.
The county has completed all of the steps to achieve this state certification, which included submitting an application, creating a policy, having employees attend this training on how to use these kits, have a doctor on board, which is Dr. Govind Rao, and having a designated person in charge of overseeing the kits, which is Emergency Services Director Jeffrey T. Smith.
“It is critically important that First Responders are trained in how to administer this drug because those first few moments can really make a life-saving difference,” said Smith, who along with Undersheriff Robert A. Thomas, III, and two sheriff’s deputies, is now certified to be instructors of the training.
Narcan is a medicine that can reverse an overdose by blocking heroin or other opiates in the brain for 30 to 90 minutes. New York has a law that took effect in 2006, which allows for non-medical persons to administer narcan to another individual to prevent an opioid overdose from becoming fatal.
“Narcan isn’t a solution to drug addiction, but having law enforcement officials trained in how to administer the drug has proven it can save someone’s life,” Thomas said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, please contact the Mental Health and Addiction Services hotline, operated by St. Mary’s Hospital at (518) 842-9111.
Earlier this year, county and law enforcement officials took part in a Naloxone Training in the Emergency Operations Center at the Montgomery County Public Safety Facility, in Fultonville. The training was administered through the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and is certified by the New York State Department of Health as an Opioid Overdose Prevention Program.