‘Simply stated, increasing naloxone availability saves lives,’ said Mitchell Katz, MD, president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals.
In 2016, more New Yorkers died from opioid-related overdose than from car crashes and homicides combined, according to the NYC Department of Health. In 2017, the city announced its goal to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 35 percent over the next five years and launched the HealingNYC initiative, a multifaceted response to opioids which includes the broad distribution of anti-overdose medication, the expansion of addiction treatment plans and the increased capacity to track the drug supply.
On Tuesday, NYC Health + Hospitals announced that 17 of its sites are now certified Opioid Overdose Prevention Programs, including four hospitals in Central and East Brooklyn. The Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, certified by the New York State Department of Health, enables hospitals to routinely dispense naloxone, a nasal spray used to prevent an overdose of opioids, as well as to offer overdose prevention training of patients and community members.
The four hospitals in Central and East Brooklyn who have obtained the new certification are NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County in East Flatbush; NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull in Bedford Stuyvesant; NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health Cumberland in Fort Greene; and NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health in East New York.
Since the launch of Healing NYC last year, NYC Health + Hospitals have distributed more than 2,100 naloxone kits and implemented initiatives to make naloxone available within their facilities. Those initiatives include the standardization of emergency department protocols related to overdoses; the expansion of naloxone distribution to make naloxone kits more readily accessible to patients, their family or friends; the opening of a hospital-based naloxone kit distribution center to make the drug available free of charge to the community at large; as well as trainings on how to identify someone who is suffering from an overdose and how to properly administer the life-saving naloxone nasal spray.
“Simply stated, increasing naloxone availability saves lives,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, president and chief executive officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “Making naloxone easily accessible to our patients and members of the community who may have friends or family struggling with opioid use is an important part of New York City’s response to the opioid epidemic.”