Drug overdoses are a significant problem across New York State with data from New York City showing more than 900 fatalities caused by accidental overdoses in 2003, nearly 70 percent of which involved the use of opioids like heroin.
In 2006, state law went into effect to allow non-medical personnel to administer Naloxone (na-LOX-own), also known as “Narcan,” a nasal spray which can reverse the symptoms of opioid overdose. While the state has made progress by training lay-people, many areas of the states still do not have trained overdose responders.
That is of course unless you consider local emergency medical services, which this year, for the first time, are being offered training to administer Naloxone.
The training program was developed by state Department of Health in collaboration with the Regional Emergency Medical Organization, or REMO, which serves six counties including Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady.
Dr. Michael Dailey is an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Albany Medical College and REMO’s medical director. He spoke with WAMC’s Patrick Donges about the new program and the medication itself.