Facing the Ugly Truth

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The Port Jefferson community became more informed about the dangers of overdose from prescription opioid medications by attending the Suffolk County Police Department’s powerful presentation, “The Ugly Truth.” Hosted by the Port Jefferson School District, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Port Jefferson Village Board and the Port Jefferson Village Alliance, the evening of presentations by experts in the field disclosed the issues regarding opioid use and overdose, signs of a drug overdose and the potential life-saving method of administering intranasal Naloxone (Narcan).   

According to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Bossert, the goal of the forum was to give the community a better understanding of the issue. Jason Spiller, who brought the program to the district, explained that the end game is to break the cycle of drug use and overdose by being more informed. Karen Sullivan, who assisted Spiller, said her goal was for the community to be “proactive and not reactive,” as seen in the large attendance at the forum.

SCPD Deputy Commissioner Tim Sini said the county is in the middle of an epidemic, but that this is an opportunity to prevent future deaths due to overdoses and medication abuse. “We are not going to arrest ourselves out of this epidemic,” Sini said. “Early education is the best solution.”

Chief Police Surgeon Scott Coyne noted that all SCPD officers have received Narcan training, while police officer George Lynagh talked about heroin use and packaging, and medical examiner Dr. Ruth Kohlmeier discussed the trend of “polypharmacy,” the mixing of drugs. Jason Byron from the Emergency Medical Training Unit of the Suffolk County Police Academy described the signs of an overdose and led training on how to administer Narcan.