HUNTINGTON STATION, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Putting the power of revival in public schools, that’s the goal of proposed legislation unveiled Thursday on Long Island.
The effort focuses on a life-saving tool that can prevent deadly drug overdoses.
As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock explained, silver — the color of drug overdose and its effects — adorns trees and lapels outside of Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station. Thursday was International Overdose Awareness Day.
“This year to date, focusing on Suffolk County, we’ve seen 1,200 overdoses, 229 fatalities,” Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci said at a news conference. He was joined by Tyler Raciti, 18, cofounder and director of the nonprofit organization PRO-NEO – The Overdose Reduction Group, as well as South Huntington School District officials and parents.
Lupinacci said nearly 800 of those overdoses resulted from heroin or opiates. The epidemic is relentless and shows no signs of discrimination.
“We have a crisis here today, and everyday. Our young people are dying,” he said.
It could happen anywhere, even in our schools.New legislation aims to stop such overdoses before another young life gets wasted. Lupinacci said if passed the state would reimburse public schools the price paid for Narcan, a powerful antidote to opioid overdoses known to wake victims within minutes.
“That’s really good,” Brentwood resident, Maria Almonte said.
Brentwood High School student David Flores said it’s always good to have a backup.
“Could potentially save a life,” he said.
All Brentwood public school safety personnel are armed with Narcan. The campaign started two years ago.
“We wanted to be ready decided to be proactive, and have our staff trained in case of emergency in our schools,” Brentwood School District, School Safety Director, Carlos Sanchez said.
At $30 to $40 a kit, the cost to acquire one for each of his 80 people isn’t negligible. Sanchez said reimbursement would be a beautiful thing for all districts.
“The fact that the Health Department is providing these drugs right now is part of the stopgap measure,” New York State Assemblyman Andrew Raia said.
The new proposal would make funding permanent, and ensure the potentially life-saving nasal spray would never vanish.
The proposed legislation will be taken up in January when the next legislative cycle begins.