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About 160 Town of Hamburg, Village of Hamburg and Village of Blasdell police officers and nine Hamburg-area fire companies have completed three days of intense training to certify as first responders able to administer the life-saving intranasal naloxone spray to persons suffering from opiate overdoses, Dr. Gale R. Burstein, Erie County health commissioner reported.

Using naloxone supplied by the Health Department, the Hamburg-area first responders will be able to reverse the effect of overdoses of heroin or other opioids, including hydrocodone and oxycodone prescription drugs, . Burstein said. Though previously naloxone could only be administered by paramedics using an injection, a change in state law allows police officers and emergency medical technicians to used the intranasal spray, which allows for faster and easier administration of the medication, she noted.

Dr. Brian Clemency, emergency medical services director for the Hamburg fire companies, said the success of the training sessions illustrated “the close-working relationship between our fire and police departments and shows their commitment to the care of opiate overdoses in our community.

Hamburg Police Chief Michael Williams said his department was happy to take part in the training “to help reduce the lethality of these overdoses.”

Additional training sessions will be conducted in June in Erie County for other police and first responders with New York State providing supplies of naloxone at no cost to participating municipalities and agencies.