Free training session in Elmhurst to help Queens residents fight the nation’s opioid crisis

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Queens residents will have a chance to join the fight against the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis with a special training session in Elmhurst on Sept. 26.

As part of National Recovery Month, Borough President Melinda Katz will join NYC Health + Hospitals and the city’s Department of Health in sponsoring an event to educate members of the public on how they can save the lives of people suffering from opioid overdoses.

“We are in the middle of an opioid epidemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people in New York City in the past two years alone,” Katz said. “We can help address this crisis by learning how to administer potentially lifesaving naloxone to those overdosing on opioids, empowering family members, friends and neighbors with the information to assist.”

Participants will learn how to recognize an opioid overdose and how to properly and safely administer naloxone medication to reverse it. The free training session will be held in the auditorium, Room A1-22, at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, located at 79-01 Broadway, from 10 a.m. to noon.

Naloxone is an “opioid antagonist” that counteracts the life-threatening depression of the central nervous and respiratory systems suffered during an opioid overdose. Administration of naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing and save the life of a person overdosing on opioids. It is a safe medication widely used by emergency medical personnel and other first responders to prevent opioid overdose.

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst is pleased to partner with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the NYC Health Department to host this critical program about how to assist those at risk for opioid overdose,” said Israel Rocha, vice president on NYC Health + Hospitals and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. “Giving the general public free training on how to use naloxone can empower Queens residents to save lives and prevent further overdose deaths.”

Naloxone kits will be provided to the participants in the training session. The effort is part of HealingNYC, a citywide initiative to prevent opioid overdoses that helped the city achieve a 3 percent reduction last year in its annual number of unintentional drug overdose deaths, its first annual reduction in eight years. The reduction was especially sharp in Queens, which saw its number of overdose deaths drop from 270 in 2017 to 215 in 2018.

“Naloxone saves lives and is helping us turn the tide on the overdose epidemic,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said. “If you or someone you know uses drugs, it is essential to have a naloxone kit on hand in case of an overdose. This course will teach you the steps in responding to opioid overdose and provide access to a free kit.”

National Recovery Month is sponsored each September by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to increase awareness and understanding about mental and substance use disorders and to celebrate the people who recover from them.