Free Heroin Overdose Prevention Training

August 8, 2014 Updated Aug 8, 2014 at 8:52 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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August 8, 2014 Updated Aug 8, 2014 at 8:52 PM EDT

(Release) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 12 New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Addiction Treatment Centers (ATCs) in communities across the State will offer training sessions on opioid overdose prevention.

Participants will learn how to recognize an overdose, what to do during an overdose, how to provide rescue breathing during an overdose and how to administer naloxone.

Upon completion of the training, participants will be certified to administer naloxone and will receive a free naloxone rescue kit. The training sessions, as a part of New York State’s efforts to help those struggling with opioid and heroin addiction, are free and open to the general public and first responders.

“Overcoming heroin and opioid abuse requires the community to come together and be ready on every level, and naloxone is an important tool in this fight,” Governor Cuomo said. “Proper training will ensure safe and effective administration of the drug by families, community members and first responders on the front lines. I encourage everyone who can to sign up so that lives – many of them, young – may be spared.”

Heroin and opioid addiction has become an increasingly alarming problem in communities across the State and nation, with a particularly significant impact among younger individuals.

In 2013, there were 89,269 cases of heroin and prescription opioid treatment admissions in New York State alone, an increase from 63,793 in 2004. During this same time period, the drug also disproportionately impacted New Yorkers ranging in age from 18 to 24. Nationally, as many as 467,000 people were reportedly abusing heroin or suffering from heroin dependence in 2012.

OASAS oversees one of the nation's largest addiction services systems with more than 1,600 prevention, treatment, and recovery programs. OASAS treatment programs assist about 100,000 people on any given day and more than 240,000 different individuals every year. To sign up for an upcoming naloxone training session at an OASAS ACT near you, visit http://www.oasas.ny.gov/atc/ATCherointraining.cfm.

In June, Governor Cuomo signed legislation designed to combat the growing heroin and opioid epidemic in communities across the state. The legislation includes new programs and insurance reforms to improve treatment options for individuals suffering from heroin and opioid addiction; measures to strengthen penalties and put in place additional tools for law enforcement to crack down on the distribution of illegal drugs; support for enhanced public awareness campaigns to prevent drug abuse; and provisions to ensure the proper and safe use of naloxone.

Addiction is a chronic disease and New Yorkers need to know that help and hope is available. Individuals can get help by calling the toll-free, 24-hour 7 days a week New York State HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY. For more information, visit http://www.oasas.ny.gov.