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Opioid crisis awareness efforts continue on Long Island with Narcan set to become available over-the-counter

Opioid crisis awareness efforts continue on Long Island
Opioid crisis awareness efforts continue on Long Island 01:54

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. -- With the overdose reversal drug Narcan set to become available over-the-counter as early as next week, there's a continuing effort to spread awareness about the opioid crisis on Long Island.

Sharon Richmond, of Northport, is a fifth grade teacher, but her most emotional lessons may be outside the classroom in the name of her son, Vincent.

"In his last in-patient stay, he was crying. He wasn't ready to come out," she said.

Insurance denied treatment, leaving Vincent back out and vulnerable. He accidentally overdosed on poisonous fentanyl in the middle of the night.

"Narcan was right there. It would have saved him. So we need schools, libraries, beaches, public parks ... should have it on hand, just as you have an AED," Richmond said.

Big box outlets like CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid expect to have naloxone, also known as Narcan, available online and on many store shelves by early next week. A two-dose box goes for about $45.

Steve Chassman, of the Long Island Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, says it's about time that such life-saving materials become mainstream.

"LICADD was the first to bring naloxone, or Narcan, here to Long Island 14 years ago, and we took a little feedback for it, but last year on Long Island, it saved 1,500 lives," he said.

As National Recovery Month kicks off in the town of Huntington, it's time to go purple.

"Purple is a color that's been associated with unity and for hope, and I think that those are two very important themes for addiction month," Huntington Town Councilmember Joan Cergol said.

"We are having this discussion right before school starts. And a message to the parents out there:  there is no better time to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol than now," said Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, with the Family and Children's Association.

He says 21 million Americans are in recovery and need daily support.

"For those who are on the road to recovery, in recovery, for their continued success," he said.

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