BY MICHAEL RICONDA
The inclusion of a new anti-opiate overdose drug in the equipment of local first responders was used twice in Rockland last week. First an overdosing 49-year-old man was revived with a dose of the lifesaving drug and the following day a 31-year-old woman.
Orangetown Police reported that on Wednesday, October 29, an officer responded to a reported drug overdose on South Franklin Street in Nyack at 6:15 p.m. Upon finding the 49-year old subject incapacitated and barely breathing, the officer administered a dose of naloxlone-known commonly as Narcan-in the form of a nasal spray.
The drug partially restored the man’s breathing, allowing the officer to continue administration of first aid until the man was picked up by a Nyack Ambulance and driven to Nyack Hospital.
The following night OPD again received a call, this time for a woman overdosing on South Broadway in Upper Grandview. Police said the 31-year-old woman was sweating profusely with a rapid heart rate and extremely shallow breathing. The officer administered the naloxone to the victim and her condition improved dramatically in about three minutes.
The two occasions now mark three times naloxone has been used in recent months to save a Rockland County resident, the product of a recent effort to train and equip first responders in its use. On August 28, Clarkstown Police successfully administered naloxone to a man who was found overdosing at a property on Dickinson Avenue in Nyack. Like the recent case, the man was revived and taken to Nyack Hospital.
Naloxone works by temporarily blocking the effects of opiates-particularly heroin and morphine-on the brain, buying valuable time for first responders to stabilize an overdose patient. This fall, New York sponsored a statewide naxolone training program for 1,400 police in 54 counties, a move which has already saved dozens of lives.
Rockland has done its part to educate first responders in the use of naxolone as well. In April, Clarkstown began a naxolone pilot program, leading the way for other departments in the county to pick up and train in the use of the drug themselves. Since then, local police have had the opportunity to collaboratively train with cops from other municipalities in the county, emergency medical personnel and other first responders.
Non-first responders also have access to naxolone for emergency purposes. On October 6, State Sen. David Carlucci’s office held a training session for county residents who wished to learn how to use the anti-overdose drug themselves and distributed emergency kits complete with doses of the naxolone nasal spray.