CITIZEN WARRIORS

December 28, 2018 at 4:30 am

A proposed tactic in the war against drugs may put all New Yorkers on the frontlines of the battle and help save lives in the process. Find out how.

For more information on substance abuse resources, click here. 

Aired on October 17 & December 27, 2018.

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>>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"MetroFOCUS."
I'M JACK FORD.
THE BATTLE AGAINST OPIOIDS
CONTINUES WITH A DISTURBING
FACT.
ACCORDING TO THE CENTER FOR
DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION,
2,245 NEW YORKERS DIED AS A
RESULT OF THESE DEADLY DRUGS
JUST LAST YEAR.
THAT IS ALMOST AN 8% INCREASE
SINCE 2016.
WITH THIS SURGE IN DEATHS, CITY
OFFICIALS ARE ONCE AGAIN AMPING
UP EFFORTS TO COMBAT THESE
LETHAL DRUGS AND THIS TIME
TURNING TO THE PUBLIC FOR HELP.
HERE WITH SOME MORE ON THIS
DEFENDANT IS DAVID ROBINSON,
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER FOR
ALOHA.com, A MEDIA NETWORK
DEDICATED TO NEW YORK'S LOWER
HUDSON REGION.
NICE TO HAVE YOU WITH US.
>> NICE TO BE HERE.
>> LET'S START WITH THAT NUMBER,
8% INCREASE.
IS THAT AS SHOCKING AS IT
SOUNDS?
>> UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS NOT.
I MEAN THERE'S BEEN A STEADY
INCREASE IN THE OVERDOSE DEATHS
FOR THE PAST -- UNFORTUNATELY,
PAST 15 YEARS REALLY.
THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC THAT HAS
UNFOLDED FOR QUITE SOMETIME NOW.
>> TO BE CLEAR, MOST RECENTLY
SOME OF THE SPIKES HAVE BEEN
PRECIPITOUS.
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT SPIKES YEAR
OVER YEAR HIGHER THAN 8% IN THE
PAST FIVE YEARS ROUGHLY, AND
SOME IS DUE TO THE DIFFERENCE IN
HOW THE DRUGS ARE REACHING THOSE
ADDICTED ON THE STREETS AND IN
THEIR HOMES.
REALLY, IT IS PART OF THE IDEA
THAT, YOU KNOW, DRUG DEALERS ARE
CHANGING TECHNIQUES, CUTTING
THEM WITH DEADLIER SYNTHETIC
OPIOIDS.
IT IS NOT JUST HEROIN BUT MICKED
WITH MORE POTENT DRUGS THAT ARE
EVEN MORE DEADLY.
THAT'S WHERE YOU ARE SEEING THE
REAL SPIKES IN THE DEATHS.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE
PROPOSALS.
THE IDEA, AS I MENTIONED, IT IS
TO BRING THE PUBLIC ON BOARD AS
AN AID IN TRYING TO COMBAT THIS.
I'M SURE A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE
SAYING, WHAT CAN THE PUBLIC
POSSIBLY DO TO HELP HERE.
>> SURE.
SO, YOU KNOW, BASED ON WHAT YOU
ARE SEEING NATIONALLY OF KIND
OF, YOU KNOW, EDUCATION,
PREVENTION AND THEN TREATMENT,
AND THESE THREE PROPOSALS ARE
KIND OF ROOTED IN SOME OF THOSE
THAT ARE OUT THERE ALREADY.
KIND OF THE IDEA OF TURNING THE
PUBLIC TO BE ABLE TO REVERSE
OVERDOSES WITH THE USE OF
NALOXONE, THE ANTIDOTE OR
ANTAGONIST.
THAT DRAWS SOME CONTROVERSY WHEN
YOU ARE POTENTIALLY PUTTING IT
ON THE STREETS IN PUBLIC PLACES
SO PEOPLE CAN ACCESS THEM, CALL
911 AND GET INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW
TO REVIVE SOMEONE OVERDOSING IN
A PUBLIC PLACE.
YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT NOT JUST
TRAINING LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EMS
BUT DAILY CITIZENS.
IN THE MODEL OF WHAT YOU ARE
SEEING WITHIN A CPR TRAINING OR
STOP-THE-BLEED TLRAINING.
IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS THAT
ALL-HANDS-ON-DECK APPROACH TO
KEEP THEM ALIVE AS LONG AS
POSSIBLE, GET THEM INTO
TREATMENT AND HOPEFULLY START
TURNING THE TIDE ON THIS.
>> SO WOULD THESE PROVISIONS
HAVE SOME ABILITY TO ACTUALLY
PROVIDE SOME TRAINING TO PEOPLE?
SO IT WON'T BE, HEY, IF YOU SEE
SOMEBODY OUT THERE, FIND A BOX
AND DO SOMETHING TO HELP THEM?
>> SURE.
AND THEY'RE NOT TO THE LEVEL OF
PUTTING PUBLIC RESCUE KITS IN
THE STREETS.
THERE HAVE BEEN PROPOSALS IN
SOME OF THE HARDER-HIT HEARS
LIKE OHIO AND SOME OF THE
MIDWEST
VICTIM.
THIS TAKES TO THE NEXT STEP,
WHICH IS HAVING THE FORUMS
AVAILABLE IN HOSPITALS AND
CLINICS.
THEY HAVE THESE REGULARLY, AND
PEOPLE WHO ARE POTENTIALLY A
FAMILY MEMBER OR LOVED ONE OF
SOMEBODY STRUGGLING WITH
ADDICTION, THEY ARE UNDERGOING
TRAINING ALREADY.
IT ENTAILS GOING TO A COURSE,
GETTING THE TRAINING AND A
RESCUE KIT, WHICH HAD TO BE
PASSED LEGISLATIVELY TO MAKE IT
AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC,
BASICALLY SAYING THIS IS HOW YOU
SAVE LIVES.
UNFORTUNATELY, YOU KNOW, WE ARE
ALREADY SEEING NUMBERS FROM THE
STATE FOR STATEWIDE ARE
THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE
BEING REVIVED ALREADY.
SO, YOU KNOW, IT IS ONLY GOING
TO GET WORSE.
>> EARLY ON THERE WAS SOME
PUSHBACK OVER THE IDEA OF HAVING
THESE REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO
POLICE OFFICERS, EMS PEOPLE, AND
THE PUSHBACK WAS, WELL, AREN'T
WE JUST KIND OF GOING TO BE
SAYING TO PEOPLE, IT IS OKAY FOR
YOU TO USE BECAUSE IF YOU HAVE A
PROBLEM SOMEBODY WILL BE THERE
TO SALVAGE YOU, IF YOU WOULD, TO
RESUSCITATE YOU, BRING YOU BACK?
ARE YOU SEEING, AGAIN AS
SOMEBODY WHO HAS BEEN REPORTING
THIS, THAT WE HAVE GOTTEN PAST
THAT AND PEOPLE ARE SAYING, YOU
KNOW WHAT, WE HAVE TO SAVE LIVES
HERE?
>> YEAH.
I THINK THAT GETS TO THE HEART
OF THE ISSUE.
THE IDEA THAT, YOU KNOW, GO
THROUGH ANY PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS
THROUGHOUT HISTORY REALLY AND
TALK ABOUT IT REACHES A POINT
WHERE EVERYBODY SAYS THEY'VE
BEEN TOUCHED BY IT PERSONALLY.
EVERYBODY KNOWS SOMEBODY
STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION
UNFORTUNATELY.
AS A PUBLIC HEALTH AND PUBLIC
POLICY ISSUE, THAT'S SOMETHING I
THINK THAT IS PAST DISCUSSION
REALLY.
WE HAVE DONE REPORTING JUST ON
PEOPLE TELLING THEIR OWN STORIES
IN OBITUARIES.
FAMILIES ARE SAYING, WE LOST A
LOVED ONE TO THIS AND WE DON'T
WANT YOU TO GO THROUGH THE SAME
PAIN.
SO HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED WITH
OUR LOVED ONE.
THEY STRUGGLED WITH ADDICTION
FOR THIS MANY YEARS, AND WE WANT
YOU TO NOT GO THROUGH THE SAME
THING.
YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE BIG LEAPS.
YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT A CHANGE
IN PUBLIC THINKING THAT REALLY
IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS CRUCIAL
WHEN YOU TALK TO TREATMENT
EXPERTS IN OVERCOMING THIS,
GETTING RID OF THE SHAME,
GETTING RID OF THE JUDGMENT, AND
SOME OF THOSE THINGS, THOSE
HURDLES THAT KEEP PEOPLE FROM
GETTING HELP.
THAT'S WHERE YOU ARE STARTING TO
TALK ABOUT, OKAY, THE TREATMENT
PEOPLE, THE TREATMENT EXPERTS
ARE SAYING THAT'S WHAT WE
NEEDED, NOW LET'S START TURNING
THE TIDE ON THIS.
>> DAVID ROBINSON, YOU HAVE DONE
GREAT REPORTING ON THIS.
WE APPRECIATE YOU COMING IN AND
SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS WITH THIS.
WE WILL TALK WITH YOU DOWN THE
ROAD.
>> MY PLEASURE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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