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Rockland Steps Up War On Opioids

Dr. Susan Hoerter, the medical director of the Rockland County Department of Mental Health, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe  and Rockland County Executive Ed Day
Dr. Susan Hoerter, the medical director of the Rockland County Department of Mental Health, Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe and Rockland County Executive Ed Day Photo Credit: Rockland County

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. --  It's something we all read, hear about or experience every day -- another overdose or death from opioids.

The numbers are staggering: 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.

That's why Rockland County Executive Ed Day is stepping up the war on opioids by announcing a free Narcan training session and a "Drug Take Back Day."

"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.."

Rockland County will offer free Narcan training and a Narcan rescue kit to anyone over the age of 18 who attends a training session the training, which will be held from 10 a.m., to noon Saturday, April 29 at the Rockland County Legislative Chambers, 11 New Hempstead Road, New City.

At the same time, residents can drop off unused prescription medications at four locations in Rockland County, including inside the County Office building at 11 New Hempstead Road.

The other locations include CVS drug stores including 280 S. Main St., New City; 330 Route 304, Bardonia, and 12 W. Ramapo Road, Garnerville.

"Narcan can mean the difference between life and death for someone in the throes of a heroin or opioid overdose," the County Executive said. "We know that all across this country, people are dying from opioid abuse."

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.

Day pointed out that Narcan alone is not the answer.

"It takes a coordinated response from the community, including our Department of Mental Health, our District Attorney, our law enforcement and our paramedics," he said.

To register for the free Narcan training go here .

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