Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman on Monday announced that the county has placed Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses, in county buildings, parks and other public spaces. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp

A grieving Long Island mother teamed up with Nassau officials to place Narcan — the lifesaving nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses — with defibrillators in Nassau County buildings, parks and other public spaces.

Fatal opioid overdoses appear to have declined in Nassau County in 2022, County Executive Bruce Blakeman said Monday in Mineola during a news conference. But the widespread availability of fentanyl, a cheap and deadly synthetic opioid dealers use to cut heroin, cocaine and counterfeit prescription drugs, continues to threaten Long Island communities, officials said Monday.

“This kind of drug, it doesn’t discriminate based on race, based on ethnicity, based on what your religion is, based on what your socioeconomic status is,” Blakeman said. “This is a drug that is insidious and is in every neighborhood in every community, and we’ve got to fight it.”

The idea to place Narcan kits with the 50 defibrillators in Nassau buildings and parks originated with Carole Trottere of Old Field, a longtime press secretary whose son, Alex Sutton died, in 2018 of a heroin/fentanyl overdose. Defibrillators are used to deliver electrical shocks to those suffering from cardiac arrest. 

Trottere, who had worked as a spokeswoman for the Nassau legislative leaders, the county controller’s office and former Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, said she was moved into action after attending a summit with officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division in November. Trottere said she left that meeting wanting to do more to make sure other families do not suffer the same loss she has experienced. Making Narcan more widely available, she said, will save lives. 

“I know how government works,” Trottere said. “My past experience with my career made me confident I could get something done.” 

Unofficially, Blakeman said, there were 172 fatal overdoses in Nassau County last year, down from 270 in 2021. The official number will not be available until all the suspected cases are confirmed by the medical examiner’s office later this year. 

Blakeman said a nonpartisan committee is deciding how to spend most of the $60 million it has received from the settlement of a landmark lawsuit filed by Nassau, Suffolk and New York State against the opioid manufacturers and distributors the plaintiffs claimed were responsible for thousands of overdose deaths since the late 1990s. The county plans on spending $15 million annually for four years on drug prevention, education and treatment, he said. 

Nassau, which could ultimately receive $180 million from the settlement, has awarded $2.4 million of those funds, back in September. Most of the money — $2 million — went to Nassau University Medical Center to provide mental health services to young people, Blakeman said. Suffolk officials announced in January that the county began distributing $25 million to drug treatment providers, community groups and government agencies for programs designed to combat opioid abuse. 

 Blakeman said the county will distribute additional funds soon and that officials are reviewing applications and vetting organizations to make sure the money is used as efficiently as possible. 

“We are trying to figure out how much for treatment, how much for prevention, how much for education,” Blakeman said. “We should have that done very, very quickly and I think we will be in a circumstance, very shortly, where that money will be distributed ASAP.”  

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence donated the Narcan kits to the county, according to Blakeman, who vowed the kits would be placed with defibrillators by the end of business on Monday. 

LICADD executive director Steve Chassman said placing Narcan kits with defibrillators takes away some of the stigma that comes with substance abuse. Many of the overdoses that occurred on Long Island in recent years, law-enforcement and public health officials have said, are the result of victims unknowingly consuming counterfeit prescription drugs laced with fentanyl. 

“This is a poisoning crisis,” Chassman said. “When you buy Xanax on the street and you end up overdosing from opioids, this is not what you are signing on for.”

Suffolk placed Narcan kits with 125 defibrillators in county buildings in 2020.

“Here in Suffolk County, we are committed to continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic on every level,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement. “That is why a number of years ago, I signed legislation to co-locate Narcan kits at all County locations with automatic external defibrillators.”

Trottere urged young people to use caution when it comes to illicit drugs. Even one pill in the age of fentanyl can lead to horrible consequences, she said. 

“Death is permanent,” Trottere said, “and you are going to leave behind a family that is heartbroken for the rest of their lives.”

A grieving Long Island mother teamed up with Nassau officials to place Narcan — the lifesaving nasal spray that reverses opioid overdoses — with defibrillators in Nassau County buildings, parks and other public spaces.

Fatal opioid overdoses appear to have declined in Nassau County in 2022, County Executive Bruce Blakeman said Monday in Mineola during a news conference. But the widespread availability of fentanyl, a cheap and deadly synthetic opioid dealers use to cut heroin, cocaine and counterfeit prescription drugs, continues to threaten Long Island communities, officials said Monday.

“This kind of drug, it doesn’t discriminate based on race, based on ethnicity, based on what your religion is, based on what your socioeconomic status is,” Blakeman said. “This is a drug that is insidious and is in every neighborhood in every community, and we’ve got to fight it.”

The idea to place Narcan kits with the 50 defibrillators in Nassau buildings and parks originated with Carole Trottere of Old Field, a longtime press secretary whose son, Alex Sutton died, in 2018 of a heroin/fentanyl overdose. Defibrillators are used to deliver electrical shocks to those suffering from cardiac arrest. 

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Nassau officials on Monday said the county has placed Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses, in county buildings, parks and other public spaces.
  • Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said there were 172 fatal overdoses in the county last year, down from 270 in 2021.
  • The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence donated the Narcan kits to be placed with defibrillators throughout the county on Monday, officials said.

Trottere, who had worked as a spokeswoman for the Nassau legislative leaders, the county controller’s office and former Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, said she was moved into action after attending a summit with officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division in November. Trottere said she left that meeting wanting to do more to make sure other families do not suffer the same loss she has experienced. Making Narcan more widely available, she said, will save lives. 

“I know how government works,” Trottere said. “My past experience with my career made me confident I could get something done.” 

Unofficially, Blakeman said, there were 172 fatal overdoses in Nassau County last year, down from 270 in 2021. The official number will not be available until all the suspected cases are confirmed by the medical examiner’s office later this year. 

Blakeman said a nonpartisan committee is deciding how to spend most of the $60 million it has received from the settlement of a landmark lawsuit filed by Nassau, Suffolk and New York State against the opioid manufacturers and distributors the plaintiffs claimed were responsible for thousands of overdose deaths since the late 1990s. The county plans on spending $15 million annually for four years on drug prevention, education and treatment, he said. 

Nassau, which could ultimately receive $180 million from the settlement, has awarded $2.4 million of those funds, back in September. Most of the money — $2 million — went to Nassau University Medical Center to provide mental health services to young people, Blakeman said. Suffolk officials announced in January that the county began distributing $25 million to drug treatment providers, community groups and government agencies for programs designed to combat opioid abuse. 

 Blakeman said the county will distribute additional funds soon and that officials are reviewing applications and vetting organizations to make sure the money is used as efficiently as possible. 

“We are trying to figure out how much for treatment, how much for prevention, how much for education,” Blakeman said. “We should have that done very, very quickly and I think we will be in a circumstance, very shortly, where that money will be distributed ASAP.”  

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence donated...

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence donated the Narcan kits to Nassau County to be placed in county buildings and parks. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence donated the Narcan kits to the county, according to Blakeman, who vowed the kits would be placed with defibrillators by the end of business on Monday. 

LICADD executive director Steve Chassman said placing Narcan kits with defibrillators takes away some of the stigma that comes with substance abuse. Many of the overdoses that occurred on Long Island in recent years, law-enforcement and public health officials have said, are the result of victims unknowingly consuming counterfeit prescription drugs laced with fentanyl. 

“This is a poisoning crisis,” Chassman said. “When you buy Xanax on the street and you end up overdosing from opioids, this is not what you are signing on for.”

Suffolk placed Narcan kits with 125 defibrillators in county buildings in 2020.

“Here in Suffolk County, we are committed to continuing the fight against the opioid epidemic on every level,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said in a statement. “That is why a number of years ago, I signed legislation to co-locate Narcan kits at all County locations with automatic external defibrillators.”

Trottere urged young people to use caution when it comes to illicit drugs. Even one pill in the age of fentanyl can lead to horrible consequences, she said. 

“Death is permanent,” Trottere said, “and you are going to leave behind a family that is heartbroken for the rest of their lives.”

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