The East Rockaway Fire Department is sponsoring a training seminar that is open to the public and will teach participants how to help someone combat an opiate overdose by the use of a medication nasal spray called Narcan. The event takes place at the Grant Avenue Firehouse on March 20 from 7 to 9 p.m.
“It has really helped over the past couple of years with saving lives,” said Danielle Metzger, who is a volunteer emergency medical technician for the ERFD. “Especially if someone calls pretty much right away.”
The seminar will help attendees learn how to recognize the signs of an emergency caused by opiate use, and will teach them new treatment approaches. By the use of Narcan, also known as Nalaxone, many lives can be saved, Metzger said. When the spray is administered, it helps pull people out of their overdoses.
Eden Laikin and David Hymowitz from the Nassau County Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse Prevention Committee will conduct the training. They will demonstrate how to use Narcan, which has a pre-packaged dosage that is sprayed up both nostrils. Attendees will receive a kit with the product. The training will also delve into the expected reactions from those who are coming out of their high with the use of the spray.
This is the third year of the training. According to Metzger, about 80 people attended the seminar the first year and about 90 came last year. The firehouse can hold up to 120 people.
Metzger acknowledged that there could be some backlash about a possible increase of opiate abuse because of the spray, but she said that Narcan is just as important as CPR because it gives somebody his or her life back.
“It saves lives,” she said, “and if we can save somebody’s life in hopes that they realize they hit rock bottom and they can turn their lives around, we give them another day with their family.”