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School of Nursing & Healthcare Professions Collaborates with Westchester County Department of Health to Combat Opioid Overdoses

April 18, 2017
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Forty members of the School of Nursing & Healthcare Professions Class of 2017 were trained in the administration of Nalaxone (Narcan™) to help fight the epidemic of opioid and heroin overdoses. A group of 40 students was also trained last November, bringing the total number recently trained to 80.

The CNR faculty and Student Nurses Association (SNA) partnered with the Westchester County Department of Health, which again provided this free community program. Students were trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid or heroin overdose, learned how to administer Nalaxone (Narcan™) and received a two-year certification for successfully completing the training.

When administered properly, the nasal spray Narcan restores breathing that has been dangerously slowed by an overdose of opioid drugs such as heroin. Each nursing student who was trained is now certified for two years to administer Narcan in New York State. Participants also received a free kit with a needleless syringe and two nasal spray doses of Naloxone, courtesy of Westchester County.

“Prescription drug and opioid abuse continues as a major crisis in our nation,” said H. Michael Dreher, Ph.D., the Elizabeth Bell LeVaca dean of the CNR School of Nursing & Healthcare Professions.

“CNR has taken a lead to ensure that undergraduate nursing students, most of whom live and work in Westchester, have the opportunity to be trained to provide life-saving help to prevent opioid overdose deaths,” said Adrienne Wald, EdD, assistant professor of nursing. Wald worked with Myrantz Assade, senior nursing student and SNA president, to arrange this for this second critical training opportunity so additional CNR students will be ready to serve their communities. “We are proud to have now have trained a total of 80 students in this critical skill.”

“With County Executive Rob Astorino’s leadership, the Westchester County Health Department has shared this training with more than 2,000 police officers, residents, pharmacists, medical students and now future nurses,” said Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD. “I am confident these future nurses will share what they’ve learned about opioid addiction with their patients and with fellow healthcare providers. I trust that College of New Rochelle students will use this tool to help save lives and to recognize, treat and prevent future addiction.”

The Narcan training complements the CPR/BLS certification senior nursing students are already required to hold, and it is hoped that eventually other CNR nursing students will be certified in Narcan administration. Additional training sessions at The College of New Rochelle will be planned in the spring. For more information, contact Dr. Adrienne Wald at 914-654-5219.