Smithtown, NY - March 21, 2014 - “What does an addict look like?,” asked Thomas Frederick Jan, DO, to a room of more than 80 attendees at a Narcan Training Program held at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in partnership with the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) on Wednesday, March 19, 2014. The answer to the puzzling question from an attendee was, “no different from you or me,” and proved to be correct.
The troubling, yet sad and truthful fact is that every day on Long Island alone, someone dies of a fatal drug overdose. This is a problem that needs to be addressed before mortality rates increase. Because of this staggering fact, St. Catherine of Siena’s Community Outreach Program partnered with LICADD to offer the free community Narcan Training. The training facilitated by Dr. Jan, included a 1-hour lecture, paired with a 20-minute demonstration which enabled the attendee the proper training to save someone with a potential opioid overdose by administrating Narcan, the antidote for opioid overdose. This qualification protects the responder under the NYS “Good Samaritan” law.
What is Narcan? Narcan (Naloxone) is the safe and effective drug used to counter the deadly effects of overdose from heroin and other opiods. LICADD has been working for years to raise public awareness about this life-saving tool, regularly offer free Narcan trainings, and increase the availability of Narcan kits. For many struggling with a powerful addiction, and their family members who love them, LICADD has offered a chance to seek help with the support groups and referrals to treatment. In response to the growing numbers of Long Islanders dying each year of overdose, Suffolk County introduced a pilot program in June of 2012 and over 20 lives were saved within the first month. In that same year, Nassau County began training its EMTs and Police Department personnel, and now offers public trainings through its Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Prevention Task Force.
St. Catherine’s Director of Emergency Medical Services Paul Taglienti, MD, welcomed the grouped of more than 80 community members—and shared with them the significance of the life-saving drug and the importance of seeking help for their loved ones, especially with the many programs and services offered by LICADD.
"The goal of this program is to provide family and friends of those afflicted by opiate dependence the ability to save their loved ones life in case of overdose," said St. Catherine’s Emergency Department Attending Physician Shan Ahmed DO, MS, FACOEP, FACEP. “This is a life saving program that must be attended by anyone who has a family member suffering with narcotic addiction.”