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Restaurant industry hit hard by overdoses: Suggestions for Narcan training

The death on Shelter Island, and others on the North Fork from cocaine laced with fentanyl, have hit the restaurant industry hard, according to Police Chief Jim Read, with the victims employed by several eateries.

Chief Read told the Town Board Tuesday that he’s working closely with Southold and Suffolk County police, as well as with Community Action for Social Justice to enhance Narcan training among those in the restaurant industry.

Narcan is something of a miracle drug  which, either through a nasal inhaler or an injection, brings people back from the coma-like state of an overdose to life in a matter of seconds.

Often, Chief Read told the Board, people hesitate to call police to respond to a drug overdose, so by the time help arrives, it’s often too late, 

He had been approached, he said, by two Islanders — Chris DiOrio and Keith Bavaro — about offering training to individuals to save those who have overdosed.

The chief also emphasized that people shouldn’t hesitate to call police about an overdose because they fear being arrested. The law prohibits police from bringing drug possession charges resulting from overdoses, he said.

“We’re only there to help” and no criminal charges will ever be filed, he said.