In a borough that leads New York City in prescription medication abuse and heroin overdose, Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) will be training and distributing free nasal Narcan
(Naloxone), which is used to reverse the effects of a
"The data's compelling," said Harshal Kirane MD, director of Addiction Services at SIUH. "Staten Island's opioid overdose rate is nearly three times higher than the other boroughs."
The training, being held simultaneously at the hospital's north and south sites, will focus on recognizing the signs of overdose and how to administer Narcan treatments. A pre-event registration will start at 1:30 pm and the event will run from 2-5 pm on Sept. 9, and accommodate nearly 300 people.
According to the NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, drug overdose is a leading cause of accidental death in New York City, with a majority involving either heroin or prescription painkillers. Overdose deaths related to prescription painkillers increased 233 percent between 2000 and 2012. Heroin-related overdose deaths increased 84 percent between 2010 and 2012 in New York City, after four years on the decline.
The mortality rate from overdose on Staten Island is 7.4 per 100,000, compared to 2.4 per 100,000 citywide.
These alarming statistics moved SIUH to partner with community groups such as Tackling Youth Substance Abuse and the
National Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to combat this problem. The hospital was recently credited by the DEA for removing more than 1,010 pounds of prescription medications from household medicine cabinets through National Drug Take Back Day.
In total, hospitals across the North Shore-LIJ Health System collected 4,860 pounds of medications since 2010.
"The fact of the matter is, Narcan saves lives," explained Dr. Kirane. "Overdose, sadly, is a wakeup call for many dependents -- many of which don't survive to get the chance at recovery."
Dr. Kirane hopes to spread this training to other health venues on Staten Island, "addiction wears many faces: a family member, a neighbor" and he says these kits need to be readily available to the community.
"On Staten Island, this training is as important as knowing CPR," said Dr. Kirane. The Narcan kits are being provided through the NYC Department of Health. For more information about the training, call 718-306-5125.
The Regina M. McGinn, MD, Education Center
475 Seaview Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305
Main Conference Room
375 Seguine Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10309