ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- More than 80 people turned out Saturday during a special event hosted by the county to learn about the growing opioid epidemic sweeping the area and how to use the Narcan drug to save a life.
Organized by Rockland Commissioner of Mental Health Michael Leitzes, the event was sponsored by Rockland County Executive Ed Day as a way to "step up the war on opioids."
"Heroin and other drugs are stealing too many of our residents, particularly our young people," he said. "This is a complicated issue that requires action on many fronts.."
In 2015, there were 31 drug-related deaths, according to the Rockland County Medical Examiner. Most of them were opioid-related.
In 2016, there were 40 drug-related deaths. Almost all -- 37 -- were opioid-related.
Last year, Rockland police agencies and paramedics administered Narcan 54 times. That's more than once a week.
The youngest patient was 19. The oldest was 70. Most were in their 20s. A lot of those patients were saved. But some died of an overdose.
In the first 11 weeks of this year, Rockland police and paramedics have administered Narcan 25 times, an average of more than twice a week.
The county plans to hold another class in the near future.