Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced today that the county plans to equip first responders with Narcan, a life-saving drug that can revive overdose victims.
“This is the right thing to do,” County Executive Astorino said. “By providing Narcan to county police and other first responders, we can prevent bad choices from becoming fatal and give people a second chance.”
When administered correctly, the nasal spray Narcan restores breathing that has been dangerously slowed by an overdose of heroin or prescription painkiller. Narcan, the brand name for the drug Naloxone, works within a minute or two and gives emergency responders time to get the person to a hospital.
“Many people don’t realize that it isn’t only longtime addicts who can overdose,” Dr. Amler said. “Young people who are experimenting and taking heroin or Oxycodone for the first time can die. This is a proven solution that can save lives and prevent family tragedies.”
Those who are not emergency medical workers must have a doctor’s prescription and health department training to administer the drug. Westchester County Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, plans to write the prescriptions needed for the county to participate in the New York State Opioid Overdose Prevention Program.
“Police officers are on the front lines of the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic,” said Public Safety Commissioner George N. Longworth. “In addition to our efforts at education, prevention and enforcement, police officers are frequently the first to arrive at the scene of an overdose. Narcan will be another tool we can use to render aid to someone who is in medical distress.”
The county’s Department of Community Mental Health also can refer family members and friends of known addicts who want to be trained to administer Narcan to the Guidance Center in New Rochelle and Sancia in White Plains.