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Riverhead hospital marks NYS Overdose Awareness Day with Narcan training sessions

A Narcan kit, which is used to reverse

A Narcan kit, which is used to reverse opioid overdoses. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Peconic Bay Medical Center officials will hold Narcan training Thursday in Greenport for New York State Overdose Awareness Day and in the wake of several fentanyl-laced cocaine deaths on the East End last month.

Northwell Health and Peconic Bay Medical Center staff members will be on hand at a Narcan distribution session at 11 a.m. at the Israel Family Ambulatory Center on Main Street in Greenport, where they will teach people how to respond to an opioid overdose with naloxone, or Narcan.

Amy Loeb, executive director of the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, told Newsday that the decision to hold the training sessions was in response to a string of fatal overdoses in Greenport and Shelter Island in August. Six people died after overdosing on what police believe was cocaine laced with fentanyl, an opioid. Two men have since been arrested and charged in connection with the overdoses.

"That really had a huge impact on the local community," Loeb said. "This is a community where many people know each other, so it hurt us as a community. So we wanted to do something to be able to help with the healing and actually be able to do something."

Having recently held a Narcan training session in late August in Riverhead, Loeb said the Greenport event will teach attendees how to respond to a suspected or known opioid overdose and provide Narcan kits for them to take home.

"It’s really about supporting the community and our neighbors and really empowering them to do something should they come across someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose," Loeb said.

Loeb said the hospital has seen an increase over the years of opioid-related incidents requiring hospitalization or treatment. As a result, Loeb said the facility will consider holding more Narcan training sessions and will look at ways of educating and reaching out to the community, local schools and their staff to "come at this issue from every angle we could possibly provide it from."

No registration is required for Thursday’s event, said Victoria Palacio, director of marketing for Peconic Bay Medical Center.

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