Health Department Announces More Than 700 Brooklyn Residents Trained In Overdose Prevention through Partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the Brooklyn Public Library

Through the partnership, 11 overdose prevention trainings have been conducted at library
branches in nine Brooklyn neighborhoods to distribute over 600 naloxone kits

Last year, 350 residents of Brooklyn died of drug overdose

August 24, 2018 – As part of HealingNYC, the Health Department announced today that more than 700 Brooklyn residents have been trained in overdose prevention through a partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Brooklyn Public Library. This year to date, 11 trainings have been conducted to educate 718 Brooklyn residents about overdose prevention and response and to dispense a total of 625 naloxone kits. The partnership’s success has been driven by support from a community planning committee that includes the Brooklyn Community Recovery Center, Brooklyn Alcoholism and Addictive Services Council, and the New York Police Department. In 2017, preliminary data show that 350 residents of Brooklyn died of drug overdose. Naloxone is a medication to reverse an opioid overdose. In 2017, the Health Department distributed nearly 9,000 naloxone kits to Brooklyn opioid overdose prevention programs (OOPPs) and is committed to distribute at least 12,500 in the borough this year. The next naloxone trainings are scheduled for August 27 at the Red Hook Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and August 29 at NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull. The partnership’s naloxone trainings take place in neighborhoods across Brooklyn, including Bay Ridge, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Heights, Brownsville, Bushwick, Coney Island, Downtown Brooklyn, East New York, Prospect Heights, Red Hook, Sheepshead Bay, and Williamsburg. Brooklyn residents who would like to request a naloxone training in their neighborhood should contact Brooklyn Borough Hall.

“This partnership is an incredible opportunity to give New Yorkers the tools they need to prevent overdoses and save lives in their community,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. “Libraries are an important gathering place, and through this collaboration, we’re helping raise awareness about naloxone and encouraging residents to join us in our fight against the opioid epidemic.”

“Naloxone saves the lives of hundreds of New Yorkers each year, and we want to get it in the hands of anyone who could help save a life,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “I thank Borough President Adams and the Brooklyn Public Library for helping us connect Brooklyn residents to naloxone.”

“The opioid abuse epidemic has destroyed too many individuals and their families, while continuing to strain our healthcare system,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “It’s so critical that we as Brooklynites take action, and I’m proud of my partnership with the Brooklyn Public Library, the NYC Health Department, and all of our community-based organizations involved in bringing opioid overdose prevention trainings to neighborhoods across Brooklyn. We now have trained hundreds of additional foot soldiers in every corner of the borough ready to save lives with naloxone, and that’s a great step in winning this battle.”

“The Library has a strong commitment to providing access to public health information throughout the borough and we are pleased to partner with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the New York City Health Department on this important lifesaving initiative,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library.

“The opioid epidemic gripping our country has taken countless lives and ravaged communities,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal. “Unfortunately, New York City has not been spared from this crisis. Opioid deaths are on the rise in the five boroughs, and our overburdened hospitals are admitting more overdose patients every day. I was proud to partner with the Health Department, Borough President Adams, and the Brooklyn Public Library to train Brooklyn residents and I applaud their collective success in reaching over 700 people. Big Pharma created this crisis; now it is up to us to stop it.”     

“The more people we train in overdose prevention, the more lives we will save,” said City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Chair of the Committee on Immigration, representing Red Hook. “I’m thrilled about this significant announcement, and will continue to work with the Health Department and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to ensure that the trainings continue to be offered in the languages of everyone living in our borough and tailored to their experiences. I look forward to hosting the next training on August 27 in my district.”

In 2017, the Health Department distributed over 61,700 naloxone kits to OOPPs across New York City. Naloxone is available to all New Yorkers free-of-charge from registered OOPPs. The Health Department also offers regular naloxone trainings at its main office in Queens and Tremont Neighborhood Action Center in the Bronx. The trainings teach New Yorkers to recognize the signs of an overdose and respond by calling 911 and administering naloxone. The trainings are free, and all participants are offered a free naloxone kit. New Yorkers also can purchase naloxone without a patient-specific prescription at over 1,100 pharmacies throughout the city, including all major chain pharmacies (Walgreens, Duane Reade, Rite Aid and CVS). At least one form of naloxone is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicaid, and New York State will cover co-payments of up to $40. Additionally, the Health Department released Stop OD NYC, a free mobile app that shows how to recognize and prevent opioid overdoses, helps users find naloxone at programs or pharmacies nearby, and allows reporting of naloxone administration.

In New York City, someone dies of a drug overdose every seven hours. In 2017, provisional data show there were 1,441 overdose deaths; opioids were involved in more than 80 percent of those deaths. The number of drug overdoses remains at epidemic levels as illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a potent opioid, continues to be present in the drug supply. Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl has been found in heroin, cocaine as well as in benzodiazepines and opioid painkillers.

Treatment with buprenorphine or methadone is highly effective and can reduce the risk of overdose. Individuals seeking support or treatment for substance use issues for themselves or their loved ones can contact NYC Well by calling 1-888-NYC-WELL, texting “WELL” to 65173 or going to nyc.gov/nycwell. Free, confidential support is available at any hour of the day in over 200 languages.

If you witness an overdose, call 911 immediately.

###

#070-18

MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Stephanie Buhle: (347) 396-4177, pressoffice@health.nyc.gov