Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano hosted a free training, information and safety session where nearly 200 first responders and others learned how to safely treat or rescue people under the influence of Fentanyl or Carfentanil - two extremely potent synthetic drugs, reportedly being mixed with heroin on an increasing basis. The seminar was held on Thursday, April 13th at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola.
“In the case of Carfentanil, both the person overdosing and the rescuer are in danger if they come into contact with this potent drug, as a miniscule amount of the powdery substance can be deadly if absorbed into the skin, or accidentally inhaled,” said County Executive Mangano. “It is critical that first responders, as well as citizens trained to administer the lifesaving opioid reversal drug Naloxone, take extra precautions.”
Last month, County Executive Mangano took the pro-active, lifesaving step of issuing a Deadly Drug Alert to warn the public about Carfentanil. Reports from other states indicate first responders have exhibited signs of distress after providing first aid to Carfentanil overdose victims. Carfentanil, originally designed as an elephant tranquilizer, is 100 times more potent than Fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than Morphine. Both Carfentanil and Fentanyl can be easily introduced into the body through absorption, inhalation, oral ingestion and intravenous routes. The number of fatal overdoses in Nassau County caused by the powerful opiate Fentanyl – often unbeknownst to the user - tripled from 2015 to 2016 (from 22 to 62 deaths). In fact, Fentanyl and its analogs account for 40% of the opioid overdose deaths in Nassau County – totaling 113 since 2013. The number of fatal overdoses caused by Heroin, meanwhile, is down 25%.
The Mangano administration has trained over 8,000 citizens to respond and administer the life-saving antidote known as Naloxone, which can reverse an overdose of Carfentanil, Fentanyl or other opioids. Nassau County Police Officers are also trained and equipped with Naloxone.
The April 13th seminar featured the following speakers: Dr. Joseph Avella, Chief Toxicologist in the Nassau County Medical Examiner’s Office; Keith Scott, Prevention Director at Well Life Network; and Dr. James Dolan, Acting Commissioner of Nassau’s Department of Human Services. Prior to the seminar, representatives from several treatment agencies and recovery support groups displayed literature on services offered to those suffering from substance abuse.