Addiction prevention and recovery agencies on both sides of the Hudson River are doing their part to help arm people in the opioid war.
In response to a recent spike in overdose deaths, training sessions on the use of the overdose reversal drug Naloxone are scheduled to be held in the coming weeks.
The first will be held at Copake Town Hall, 230 Mountain View Road, at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The free training session will be conducted by Catholic Charities’ Project Safe Point and is sponsored by Columbia Pathways to recovery.
In Greene County, Naloxone training will now be held the second Monday of every month from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at 428 West Main St., Catskill. The program is sponsored by Twin County Recovery services and will also be administered by Project Safe Point.
In each training, attendees will learn the signs and symptoms of heroin and opioid overdose and how to use Naloxone. Each person also will receive a Certificate of Completion and an overdose prevention kit.
“After the recent string of overdoses last week, we decided to hold another training session,” said Carl Quinn, president of Columbia Pathways to Recovery. “The numbers that we are dealing with in Columbia County are just enormous and it’s one of the biggest public health crises this county has ever dealt with.
“We are trying to do our part to help.”
Eleven reported overdoses have taken place in Hudson since Jan. 1, including last weekend’s incidents, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said.
Three of those overdoses in the city this year have ended in death.
The problem is not specific to Columbia County. Across the nation, drug overdose deaths in 2016 most likely exceeded 59,000 — the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States.
The problem has caused a clamor among people who to want to educate themselves on how to use Naloxone in public spaces. Last week, 77 people attended a training session in Chatham, Quinn said.
“We weren’t sure how many people were going to show up for it,” he said. “We scheduled it within 24 hours, but we had 77 people come that night to get trained on Narcan. It was so popular, our board decided that we should offer one in the southern portion of the county as well.”
Around 50 people are expected to attend Wednesday’s training session. The agency has worked to train close to 350 people in the use of Naloxone, Quinn said.
Reports of overdoses in public spaces, such as grocery stores and restaurants, have also contributed to the need for public training sessions, Quinn said.
“What concerns us is that we heard one of the overdoses happened in a Hannaford and some of them are happening more frequently in places like restaurants and grocery stores and public restrooms,” he said. “It’s helpful for anyone who might happen to be there to know how to help someone who’s had an overdose.”
Quinn is urging anyone who needs addiction services to call the agency’s helpline at 1-877-HOPE-365 if they are in need of assistance.
The helpline is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The New York Times contributed to this story.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.