The neighborhood’s war on drugs was in the spotlight on Wednesday, January 28 at Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s free training session on the use of Narcan, an easy-to-use medication that can instantly reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.
According to Gentile spokesperson Justin Brannan, close to 50 people turned out at William McKinley Junior High School for the event, including 68th Precinct auxiliary officers and members of the Bay Ridge/Bensonhurst Community Emergency Response Team.
“Plain and simple: Narcan literally saves lives,” said Gentile, “and most find the Narcan applicator easier to use than EpiPens, which have been used for years in saving lives by reversing the effects of severe allergic reactions.”
“I think it was pretty good,” said Donna Mae DePola, president, founder and CEO of the Resource Training and Counseling Center (RTCC), a not-for-profit Sunset Park drug counseling center that, just this fall, opened up its first-ever satellite site in Bay Ridge. “I think, with the overdose training, what really amazes people is the pharmacology.”
Before DePola and her team could get into the training, they first had to brief audience members on the basics, beginning with how to recognize an overdose.
“A lot of people asked, ‘well, how are you sure someone is overdosing?’” DePola said. “We had all types of people and all types of questions. I think they learned a lot and were very pleased.”
There were approximately 200 Narcan nasal sprays available at the training.
“I was happy to host this important seminar along with the Resource Training and Counseling Center in order to educate and inform people on this special medication used to counter the effects of opioid abuse and how to use it effectively in case of an overdose,” said Gentile.
Brannan, also a local resident, noted that the training was especially important given the neighborhood’s recent struggle with opiates.
“Drug overdoses have grown as a silent scourge in our neighborhood,” he said. “In the past year, nearly a dozen local youths have died from opiate overdoses.”
For more information on RTCC, call 718-871-7433 or visit www.resourcetraining.org.