MIDDLETOWN, N.Y (CBSNewYork) – The library, of all places, is fast becoming a place to save lives.
Librarians and other staff members are being trained on how to revive someone who’s overdosing.
Matt Pfisterer is the director of the Middletown-Thrall Library in Middletown and he knows exactly where to find and how to use their Narcan kits.
“This is ready to go right out of the package,” he explained.
During an emergency situation, the nasal spray treats a person who is overdosing on opioids and can possibly save their life.
“I was never a Boy Scout, but at least in this situation I can say I’m always prepared,” Pfisterer said.
He said in 2016, he and five other staff members were trained by Orange County, for free, on how to use the spray. Three weeks later, he and his security guard saved a woman from overdosing.
“The Narcan worked right away. It’s amazing, it’s truly the best thing I have ever seen,” security guard Alfred Mingione said.
In recent years, libraries and other public spaces have become the site of opioid overdoses nationwide, according to Paul Guegierre, of the Urban Libraries Council.
“It’s become a problem, particularly in urban areas,” he said.
Guegierre says it’s unfortunate it has come to this, but he’s happy librarians are stepping up.
“Really what it comes down to is saving lives. So it’s not a judgement about drug use,” he said.
Congressman Sean Maloney introduced the Life-Saving Librarians Act to help fund the fight, saying in a statement, “Library staff across the country are ready to save lives when people overdose – now it’s up to us to make sure they have the training and tools they need.”
“This is something that cuts across all class, race, any distinction. It’s basically everywhere right now,” said Pfisterer.
During the training sessions, library staff also learned the signs of someone having an overdose. They say they know they’re not first responders though, and they call for help right away.