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Photo credit: NY Times

In response to the ongoing opioid crisis, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams announced a series of free overdose prevention trainings to instruct Brooklynites how to save lives. 

Adams is teaming up with the Brooklyn Alcoholism and Addiction Services Council, the NYPD, the Brooklyn Public Library and the NYC Health Department. The free trainings will take place at various library branches and community centers throughout the borough, beginning Thursday, March 21. 

“Opioid addiction is a community crisis and we must have a community response,” said Adams. “These naloxone trainings are literally expanding the opportunity to save lives.”

Opioids are narcotics prescribed to treat pain. They act on the body’s opioid receptors to produce a morphine-like effect. These prescription medications are highly addictive and, if dependency sets in, can lead to heroin, ultimately causing respiratory distress and often, death.

Photo courtesy Office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

In 2017, there were 359 overdose deaths in Brooklyn involving an opioid, the second highest total of the five boroughs, according to data provided by the NYC Chief Medical Examiner and the NYC Health Department. Bedford Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, East New York and Downtown Brooklyn were among the most severely impacted neighborhoods in the borough.

Additional city data collected in 2017 revealed that for the first time in 11 years, overdose death rates were highest among Brooklyn residents aged 55-64 and lowest among residents aged 15-24; overdose deaths specifically related to fentanyl were highest among Black New Yorkers.

Brooklynites attending the overdose prevention trainings will be instructed on how to recognize and reverse an overdose and restore breathing using the lifesaving medication naloxone. Participants will also learn how to become a certified opioid overdose responder and receive a free overdose rescue kit that includes naloxone.

Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist: It binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.

“You can be prepared to reverse an opiate overdose and save a life by becoming a first responder and taking the training,” said Patricia Wooldridge, chair of BAASC. “We’ve lost too many since 2016, and the numbers continue to rise.”

Free overdose prevention trainings will be available for the following dates:

  • Thursday, March 21, 6:00pm to 8:00pm |  BPL’s Bushwick branch in Bushwick
  • Wednesday, March 27, 6:30pm to 8:00pm |  BPL’s Bedford branch in Bedford Stuyvesant
  • Friday, April 5, 1:00pm to 3:00pm | Tilden Community Center in Brownsville
  • Wednesday, April 10,  6:00pm to 8:00pm|  BPL’s Marcy branch in Bedford Stuyvesant
  • Monday, April 22, 6:00pm to 8:00pm | BPL’s Central branch in Prospect Heights
  • Wednesday, May 15, 6:00pm to 8:00pm | BPL’s Stone Avenue branch in Brownsville
  • Tuesday, May, 2:00pm to 3:30pm | Brooklyn Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn
  • Wednesday, May 29, 6:00pm to 8:00pm | BPL’s New Lots branch in East New York

Brooklynites interested in attending one of the trainings are asked to RSVP by calling 718- 802-4299 or visiting brooklyn-usa.org/narcan.

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