Sept. 20--A pilot program that aims to put a
drug-overdose antidote in the hands of thousands of Suffolk EMTs has
saved 23 lives in its first 10 weeks, a county official said.
All of those people were found unconscious -- most barely breathing
-- before being revived with naloxone hydrochloride, said Tom Lateulere,
education and training chief for the Regional Emergency Medical
The antidote, also known as Narcan, is administered through the nose to reverse the effects of heroin and other opiates.
"We have had phenomenal success with intranasal administration of
this medication with no less than dramatic lifesaving incidents," said
Dr. Scott Coyne, the police department medical director.
Expanded use of Narcan comes at a time when fatal opiate overdoses in
Suffolk have nearly doubled -- jumping from 119 in 2010 to 217 last
year, according to the county medical examiner's office. In the first
three months of this year, 53 overdose deaths have been reported.
EMS council director Bob Delagi said the health department wanted to
get Narcan in the hands of all emergency personnel as far back as 2009,
but policies allowed only advanced-level EMTs to administer drugs
requiring intravenous or intramuscular injection.
Under the pilot program sponsored by the state, EMTs with basic training can give Narcan, now available in intranasal doses.
So far, 1,083 EMTs out of the 5,000 registered countywide have been
taught how to administer the antidote since the program was approved in
There are 21 ambulance service companies participating in the
program. About 400 police officers in the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh
precincts, and the Marine Bureau, have also been trained. All Suffolk
officers are EMTs.
On July 1, the first day of the program's full launch, officials
announced that a 27-year-old Mastic Beach man had been saved by police
equipped with Narcan from a potentially fatal overdose. Since then,
officials said police have saved eight more lives with the drug.
EMTs serving as volunteers with the ambulance companies saved the
other 14 people. Further details on the revived individuals, including
ages and sex, were not released.
Nassau County EMTs administer Narcan through the police department's ambulance service.
The overdose-halting drug is increasingly being used around the country and has no serious side-effects, medical experts say.
Suffolk's pilot program has a supporter in Liam Gibson, 43, a
recovering heroin addict from Ronkonkoma, who said he has been straight
for five years.
Gibson said he used to show up at his construction job high and
finally made up his mind to kick the habit. He now works for a New York
City nonprofit that helps addicts.
It's about time more was done to respond to the addiction crisis on Long Island, Gibson said.
"There will always be an epidemic out there," he said. "Drug abuse is not going to stop."
Copyright 2012 - Newsday
Dr Ramon REYES, MD,
Por favor compartir nuestras REDES SOCIALES @DrRamonReyesMD, así podremos llegar a mas personas y estos se beneficiarán de la disponibilidad de estos documentos, pdf, e-book, gratuitos y legales..