VESTAL (WBNG) -- The opioid epidemic is a problem in our area and across the nation. This is a reality that people know all too well, but Binghamton University's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is offering Narcan training to students and faculty for the first Wednesday of each month.
This initiative is part of the larger New York State's Opioid Overdose Prevention Program. It gives people the opportunity to help in the event of an overdose.
On Wednesday, attendees learned how to use Narcan, a prescription medication that reverses and opioid overdose. One student, Eva Kristoferson, wanted to get certified for a personal reason.
"Unfortunately a family friend of mine overdosed on heroin about a year ago," Kristoferson said.
Instead of focusing on prevention drug use, she said it's time to get trained.
"I think with enough education and outreach programs maybe we could dissuade people from using it, but for the mean time, being trained to help them with overdoses is more important than educating on not to use it," Kristoferson said.
She says this is an important program because saving a life could happen anywhere.
"People can be downtown and see someone who needs this and if they have the Narcan on them, it could be a great opportunity to use it," she said.
Bennett Doughty, Narcan certified trainer and clinical assistant professor at BU said these programs are imperative, especially in our area.
"Broome County is one of the leading opioid overdose deaths area, so it's not really something we want to be leading in so by targeting the large population here in Binghamton, we hope to have a lot of impact throughout the communities," Doughty said.
Opioid overdoses impact more people than some may think. Doughty said the overdoses affect up to 130 people a day.
"This is affecting really everybody, not really just that one stereotypical image of that one substance use disorder patient," he said.
Attendees left the event with their own Narcan kit and certification card, ready to help break the silence.
"There's so much stigma in it," Doughty said. "We really want to start talking about it more to decrease the stigma."