At least one Long Island resident dies every day from a heroin or prescription drug overdose, and Plainedge school district officials want to make sure it won't happen at their schools.
District staff members Tuesday completed an hourlong training course on how to administer Narcan, a lifesaving intranasal overdose antidote. The district is one of the first in the state to offer certification for its entire staff, a district spokesman said.
"Drug use and abuse among children and teens is a troubling issue facing our entire nation," Superintendent Edward Salina said in a statement. "We have partnered with the Nassau County Executive's office to protect our community, empower staff and act proactively to ensure the safety of our students."
More than 350 staff members completed the course at Plainedge High School in North Massapequa, said Eden Laikin, an aide to Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and chair of the county Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force.
The program included speakers and a demonstration on how to administer the drug, as well as information about how to identify an overdose. Narcan won't work for nonopiates like Xanax or cocaine, or alcohol, but it can't hurt, either, Laikin said.
Laikin said the most common time for overdoses to occur is after a person has been sober for a while, perhaps while at the hospital or in a rehab program, and 8 out of 10 overdoses happen at home.
She said the county has been trying to get the program into schools for several years, though some are reluctant to acknowledge the issue.
"You have to admit there's a problem there," she said.
Participants from Tuesday's event were able to take home a response kit, which included a dose of Narcan, and five more kits are to be kept in the nurse's offices at district buildings.