To Combat Fatal Overdoses, ACR Health to Dispense Narcan
ACR Health has now been approved by the New York State Department of Health to operate an Opioid Overdose Prevention Program.
New York is experiencing an epidemic of overdose deaths especially related to heroin and opioid-based prescription painkillers such as oxycontin and oxycodone. Today, overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the state. New evidence points to an increasing number of people transitioning from prescription painkillers to heroin, which is leading to greater overdose rates.
Fatal opioid overdoses can be prevented. Most overdoses are not instantaneous and the majority of them are witnessed by others. Many overdose fatalities are preventable, especially if witnesses have had appropriate training and are prepared to respond in a safe and effective manner.
A life-saving law took effect on April 1, 2006, making it legal in New York State for non-medical persons to administer Naloxone (Narcan) to another individual to prevent an opioid/heroin overdose from becoming fatal. Naloxone is a prescription medicine that reverses an overdose by blocking heroin or other opioids in the brain for 30 to 90 minutes.
“This public health initiative will save lives. ACR Health personnel are out in neighborhoods every day, working with high-risk people whose very lives are the ones in jeopardy,” said ACR Health Executive Director Michael Crinnin. “We have established trust and they know they can come to us no matter what.”
New York reported 1,818 drug-related deaths in 2008. For opioids (prescription pain medication and heroin) there were 9,135 emergency department visits and 21,202 hospital admissions reported for 2008. All New Yorkers can have a role in reducing opioid overdose.