May 30, 2019
At NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County the public hospital system today announced that all 11 public hospitals will host free opioid overdose and naloxone training and dispensing events by the end of 2019 as part of HealingNYC, a citywide initiative to prevent opioid overdose deaths. The training events will prepare community members and non-clinical hospital staff to recognize an opioid overdose and properly and safely administer naloxone medication to reverse it. Naloxone kits will be distributed free to all participants to empower friends, family and other community members to serve as first responders during a potential overdose. The next scheduled training and education session, in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will be hosted by NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island on Tuesday, July 16, at 1PM.
The education sessions are open to all in the community and will also feature information about what NYC Health + Hospitals is doing to combat the opioid epidemic, what treatment is available in the community for opioid use disorder, and what New Yorkers can do to prevent opioid overdose. The naloxone kits will be available to anyone 12 and older. Everyone who receives a kit will have to receive the short training that includes how to identify someone who is suffering from an overdose and how to properly administer the naloxone nasal spray. Since the launch of HealingNYC, NYC Health + Hospitals has distributed over 6,000 naloxone kits to community members.
“Opioid use has caused a high burden of death and suffering in the communities we serve. I’m proud of the work NYC Health + Hospitals is doing to educate staff, patients, friends and families to save a life in the event of an opioid overdose,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “We are grateful for the collaboration with HealingNYC that allows us to expand this education programs to save even more lives.”
“Naloxone trainings give people the tools to save a life,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “NYC Health + Hospitals is a crucial partner in the effort to reduce drug overdose deaths in New York City, and I encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of their free naloxone trainings.”
“Opioid addiction and misuse are a worsening public health crisis that requires action from all of us. That’s why the staff at Brooklyn Borough Hall has undergone Narcan training. Any of us could be in a situation where someone we know and care about has overdosed and needs help. We need to expand awareness that Narcan saves lives. This public information campaign and training series is a critical step forward in the fight against overdoses,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
“It is important to educate our community members and providers on how to identify an opioid overdose and administer the life-saving medication because most opioid-related deaths are preventable,” said Dr. Charles Barron, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Behavioral Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “We’ll be scheduling more of these education sessions across the city over the next few months and hope most community members take advantage of the trainings that can help save a life and continue to raise awareness of substance use disorders.”
“Naloxone is safe, easy to administer, and effective,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health. “Health + Hospitals has been a leader in promoting availability and use of naloxone kits. Training people to recognize an overdose and administer Naloxone will save lives.”
Naloxone is a safe medication that can save someone’s life by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. It only works on opioids, such as heroin, prescription painkillers and fentanyl, but it is safe to use even if opioids are not present. Naloxone is available to anyone who wants it.
NYC Health + Hospitals’ naloxone dispensing trainings builds on existing efforts within the public hospital system to help combat opioid misuse and related deaths. In the past year, 270 NYC Health + Hospitals staff members have undergone naloxone dispensing training and 291 medical doctors and nurse practitioners have undergone buprenorphine waiver trainings, which allows doctors to prescribe ongoing medication assisted treatment to patients with opioid use disorder. NYC Health + Hospitals/ Coney Island, Harlem and Woodhull have conducted grand rounds on substance use disorder stigma, and in February 2018, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln opened a naloxone kit distribution center in Bronx, which distributed over a 1,000 kits in its first year.
In New York City, someone dies of a drug overdose every six hours. In 2017, there were 1,487 confirmed overdose deaths (PDF). Opioids were involved in 82 percent of New York City overdose deaths last year, and the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl was the most common drug, involved in 57 percent of deaths. From January to September 2018, there were 1,055 confirmed overdose deaths (PDF). Drug overdose death remains at epidemic levels in New York City as illicitly manufactured fentanyl continued to be present in the drug supply. Fentanyl has been found in heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ketamine, as well as in benzodiazepines and opioid painkillers acquired from non-pharmaceutical sources. Approximately 20,000 NYC Health + Hospitals patients suffer from opioid use disorder and approximately 14,000 visit NYC Health + Hospitals emergency departments every year.
To learn more about naloxone or to find a location that provides naloxone without prescription, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/health/naloxone.