The Erie County government will hold free, two-hour training courses for the public on the use of Narcan to treat overdoses of opiods or heroin.
The courses will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in May through October at the Erie County Fire Training Academy, 3359 Broadway, Cheektowaga, with additional courses to be scheduled for the first Thursday of each month, said Dr. Gail Burstein, county health commissioner.
The sessions are open only to residents of Erie County.
The classes will teach Erie County residents how to recognize a possible drug overdose and how to administer naloxone.
The state Department of Health is expected to provide each attendee with a free kit containing two doses of naloxone.
County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said the program is a collaborative effort among the county Health Department, Buffalo Police, Horizon Health Services and Evergreen Health Services.
“No one and no family anywhere in Erie County should underestimate the seemingly invincible power of an opiate addiction,” Burstein said. “Fatal overdoses have occurred this year in urban, suburban and rural Erie County communities in high-income and in lower-income areas. We need to remove the stigma from substance abuse and support addicted individuals seeking treatment. Substance abuse is a chronic disease and needs to be recognized and treated as such in order to stem the growing tide of deaths.”
“Time is of the essence when a person has overdosed on opiods; first responders, especially in more rural areas, cannot always reach a victim in time. By training individuals to recognize the signs of a possible overdose and call 911 and then administer the naloxone in their possession, additional lives will be saved,” Burstein said
The county officials said only online registration for the sessions will be permitted and preregistration is highly recommended. For information, contact 858-7690 or visit erie.gov/health.