Training for the public in how to reverse opiate overdoses with Narcan will for the first time be offered across Saratoga County this year, the Prevention Council and Catholic Charities announced Wednesday.
The free training — which includes a Narcan nasal spray kit that can be used to reverse an overdose — will be offered not just in Saratoga Springs, as it was last year, but by the end of the year in communities from Waterford to Hadley. Two sessions are held most months, with the next being Monday, March 14, at the Saratoga Springs Public Library.
The move comes amid a widely perceived increase in use of heroin and other narcotics across the Capital Region and nationally, along with the associated overdose deaths. Narcan, the trade name for the drug naloxone, can reverse the effect of an overdose almost up until the time of death.
“It’s an epidemic all over the county,” said Janine Stuchin, executive director of the Prevention Council.
Narcan, which puts opiate users into the early stages of withdrawal, is now commonly carried by ambulance crews, public health nurses and many police officers, but if they have it available can be administered by family members or friends of an addict. It will soon be available in pharmacies without a prescription.
“It’s open to the public. It’s free. Anyone can be trained to administer it,” Stuchin said.
The training is actually being provided through Catholic Charities of Albany, which works with families in which there’s an addiction problem.
“We’ve gone in and trained whole families,” said Keith Brown, executive director of Catholic Charities Care Coordination Services. “We don’t do anything else with the information. If someone comes to the training, we don’t ask why.”
There are no solid figures on the number of overdose deaths in the Capital Region, but Brown said Catholic Charities is aware of 150 overdose reversals in the last five years, and the actual number is probably higher.
In addition to the March 14 training, other upcoming training dates are April 11 in Mechanicville; April 25 in Moreau, May 9 in Schuylerville, May 23 in Saratoga Springs, June 13 in South Glens Falls, June 27 in Vischer Ferry, July 13 in Hadley, July 25 in Charlton, Aug. 8 in Galway; Aug. 22 in Wilton, Sept. 12 in Clifton Park, Sept. 26 in Stillwater, Oct. 10 in Waterford, Oct. 24 in Malta, Nov. 14 in Wilton, and Dec. 12 in Ballston Spa. All sessions are from 6-7 p.m.
Details on locations and registration are available from the Prevention Council in Saratoga Springs, 581-1230, or on its website.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.