MARGARETVILLE – One hundred potentially fatal opioid overdoses were reversed in the past year because of a Delaware County substance use disorder treatment and education program led by Margaretville Hospital, a member of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth). The overdose reversals were possible due to the public availability and usage awareness of Narcan, a medication used in the emergency treatment of an opioid overdose.
The Margaretville Hospital addiction services program expands local access to substance use prevention and treatment resources. As part of the program and for the community’s convenient, cost-free access to Narcan during an overdose emergency, Margaretville Hospital certified recovery peer advocates initiated the installation of outdoor boxes for Narcan kit storage outside of the west side entrance to the hospital, as well as in front of the Huggins Building on the Margaretville Hospital campus.
The simple, easy-to-use Narcan nasal spray will reverse an opioid overdose within minutes and can be used by anyone without fear of harming the recipient.
The free, lifesaving Narcan kits are also available through WMCHealth substance use disorder-programs across the Hudson Valley.
Additionally, certified recovery peer advocates from Margaretville Hospital and its community partners Samadhi Recovery Community Outreach Center, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Delaware County Delaware Opportunities, Project Safe Point, Mountaintop Cares Coalition, the Catskills Addiction Coalition, Ellenville Regional Hospital and the Catskills Hudson Area Health Education Center regularly attend community events, at which the peer specialists have trained approximately 1,000 community members in Narcan use since the program’s inception. The combination of the Narcan use training and the public availability of the Narcan therapy are the reasons behind the overdose reversals and subsequent lives saved, according to the Margaretville Hospital program representatives.
Loosening Substance Use Disorder’s Grip on Rural Communities
Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids (e.g., oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine) was higher in rural locations like Delaware County.
“Programs like this save lives. Opioid use is a public health crisis that disproportionately affects rural communities and while our primary goal will always be education and prevention, this program’s partners endow community members with a proven overdose therapy along with training in how to use it properly to help ensure a good outcome,” said Linda Woodbine, PhD, LMHC, CASAC-2 Director, Addiction Services, WMCHealth.
Federal Support Key to Program Success
Margaretville Hospital’s program was made possible by a three-year, $1 million federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program, which serves to strengthen and expand substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery services in rural areas.
Access and Training
Community members seeking Narcan training Narcan kits for at-home use in emergencies should call Margaretville Hospital at 845.586.2631.
About Westchester Medical Center Health Network
The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with nine hospitals on seven campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 13,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. The Network has Level I (adult and pediatric), Level II and Level III trauma centers, the region’s only acute care children’s hospital, an academic medical center, several community hospitals, dozens of specialized institutes, and centers, Comprehensive and Primary Stroke Centers, skilled nursing, assisted living facilities, home-care services and one of the largest mental health systems in New York State. Today, WMCHealth is the pre-eminent provider of integrated health care in the Hudson Valley.