Posted at: 05/21/2012 3:19 PM
| Updated at: 05/21/2012 5:39 PM
By: Benita Zahn
"When you have an overdose situation you want to be able to save that person and if a simple drug can be the answer for that person it means life or death" says Carolyn Fleming with the Hoags Corners squad.
But she points out that ambulance personnel can't enter a home on an overdose call until law enforcement arrives and in that time the person could die.
Now they have a powerful partner: the Rensselaer County Sheriff's road patrol. It's 30 deputies are already EMT trained - the only road patrol in New York to be certified. Now they've also become the first approved to administer Nalaxone.
The drug is easily administered . It's carried in this little kit - assembled and administered through the nose.
"How do you know it works?" I ask. EMT trainer Lynn Kane says simply " When the wake up and say hi."
A quirk in New York state law didn't include basic life support personnel in the use of Nalaxone. So a demonstration project involving Albany Medical Center and the State Health Department was created to get it into their hands. Rensselaer county is the first region to have it.
"It's so rural and there are so many areas where it's difficult to get first responders there. The sheriff's department very frequently shows up first " Dr. Michael Dailey, the Regional EMS Medical Director explains.
Within a few weeks 5 regions will be involved in the program. All the material developed for Rensselaer county is being used in those other communities. If it all goes as expected, Nalaxone training should eventually go statewide for those trained in basic life support.
"With the abuse of prescription drugs and the abuse of drugs, illegal drugs, today that's going on out there, I think this is going to have a dramatic effect on saving lives" says Rensco sheriff Jack Mahar, summing things up.