Thursday, 05 September 2019 16:15

Opioid Crisis Hits Home: You Too Can Save A Life

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “from 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose,” and more than two- thirds of the overdoses in 2017 involved an opioid.

To combat the opioid epidemic at a local level, RAIS, Recovery Advocacy in Saratoga, held a Narcan training session

last week on Thursday, Aug. 29 at the Presbyterian - New England Congregational Church on Circular Street led by the Saratoga County Sheriff ’s office.

Captain Dan Morley of the Sheriff’s office said that in Saratoga, the opioid epidemic has been “very, very bad,” and that Saratoga has seen an influx of overdoses, but that the number has flattened out more recently. Despite that, he said “we’re not out of the woods yet.”

The training, led by Patrol Sergeant Will Kitts, covered topics such as the Good Samaritan law, how to administer Narcan and what it is actually doing to help.

Kitts said that New York was the first state to adopt a Good Samaritan law back in 2011, which protects people who call the police for a drug overdose.

Specifically, the law protects anyone with less than eight ounces of drugs, who is sharing drugs with someone, minors possessing marijuana or alcohol or possesses drug paraphernalia.

The Good Samaritan Law does not protect people with open arrest warrants, who are violating parole or who have more than eight ounces of drugs.

At the start of Thursday’s training, Captain Morley gave out overdose rescue kits. Each kit looks like a blue bag with various items, such as two doses of Narcan, a rescue breathing face shield and an opioid overdose reporting form among other things.

Only those who gave their name and an email address were officially trained, as the sheriff’s office keeps track of every overdose rescue kit it provides via a unique identification number.

During the training, Kitts said that Narcan works by blocking the same receptors that opioids bind to, stopping the person receiving Narcan from overdosing.

However, he also mentioned the various issues that result from helping to save the person’s life. Since Narcan blocks the receptors that were formerly overwhelmed by an opioid during the overdose, the person can immediately go into withdrawal and all of the symptoms associated with it.

Additionally, Narcan only lasts 20 to 90 minutes, so if the opioids are still circulating in the person’s body when the Narcan wears off, they might go into a second bout of overdosing. As a result, Kitts said that someone should still call 911, so that emergency medical care can arrive before the Narcan wears off.

Kitts clarified that Narcan is not dangerous. If a person is not in the middle of an opioid overdose, Narcan does not affect them in any way. It will not help someone who is drunk or high on some other kind of drug, but it will not hurt them, either.

The process of administering Narcan has been simplified over time, to the point that it is now almost foolproof. All it requires is the person trained in administering Narcan peel off the back of the package to get to the Narcan nasal spray, put the obvious administering end into the other person’s nose then press the plunger to administer the Narcan.

As Kitts said at the end of the training, “if you’ve ever used Flonase, you can use Narcan.”

Captain Morley added that there was an officer on every shift who was trained in administering Narcan and that they would be more than willing to meet anyone anywhere, no questions asked, to give them Narcan training.

For more information, visit RAIS at or call at 518-306-3048, or contact the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office at 518-885-6761, or visit

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