New York Taking Steps to Focus on Ongoing Opioid, Overdose Crisis
National Overdose Awareness Day came at a time when the opioid crisis is being overshadowed by another public health emergency. Monday, we told you how the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has increased the urgency to fund substance abuse treatments. Last week, the state of New York took one step toward addressing the crisis by authorizing the use of the overdose reversal medication Narcan in public places, such as stores and restaurants.
Helio Health program director Ron Wood says it is too common for businesses to be unprepared when an overdose happens.
“I mean I’ve worked with local restaurants in Syracuse who have unfortunately had individuals coming in to have dinner [who] have overdosed, and it can be extremely traumatizing for a business, an organization, a human being to witness something like that happen.”
Wood adds everyone should support Narcan-related legislation because it provides communities with a means to keep people safe while in public.
“It’s about giving people a chance to live their best life and if we have the ability to impact that change on somebody, why would we not take that opportunity? It’s someone’s son, their daughter, their husband, wife, whoever and to some capacity mental health or substance use has affected pretty much every person that we can even think about someone in your family that’s impacted in some way.”
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Helio Medical Director Doctor Ross Sullivan calls that the state’s new law is a good start. He says there are also other ways to ensure a patient is being protected when prescribed an opioid painkiller.
“Some states are semi requiring you to also prescribe naloxone along with it. I think that’s an important thing because not all providers, and in fact most, don’t truly appreciate the dangers of opioid prescriptions.”
Although Narcan trainings have slowed down due to the pandemic, people can still stay educated on the opioid crisis by visiting preventionnetworkcny.org