Looking to Narcan training to combat overdose fatalities

Aug 5, 2015

Erie County residents have a chance to take a free class on how to use the life-saving drug Narcan against opioid overdoses. The classes start this evening in the county Fire Training Academy in Cheektowaga.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein
Credit WBFO News file photo

There are five more classes this week, mornings and evenings.

Health Commissioner Doctor Gale Burstein says it's pushback against a burgeoning problem of overdoses. 

"There are no questions asked. It's non-judgemental. In reality, we probably all know somebody that's using opioids or some type of substance and we may not know it," Burstein said.

"But, it's just so prevalent in our community. We all should all be aware of how to recognize an overdose and know what to do to treat it."

The drug is administered as a nasal spray and Doctor Burstein says the person wakes up almost immediately. It's not completely clear how many times Narcan has been used in the county this year but there have been 98 fatal overdoses to far this year, city and suburb. The health commissioner says the problem is growing rapidly.