Senator Michelle Hinchey and Samadhi host Narcan training event in Saugerties

Samadhi Recovery Community Outreach Center Executive Director David McNamara demonstrates how to administer Narcan on Dennis Morgan a peer advocate at Samadhi during a Narcan training session hosted by State Senator Michelle Hinchey at Mirabella’s Restaurant in the village of Saugerties Friday. (Photos by Brian Hubert)

State Senator Michelle Hinchey (D-Saugerties) joined representatives from the Midtown Kingston-based Samadhi Recovery Outreach Center for a Narcan training program last Friday at Mirabella’s Restaurant in the Village of Saugerties.

Ulster and Greene County lead the state in opioid overdoses and deaths, Hinchey said.  “It’s a number we have to be honest about.” Hinchey added she’s lost multiple friends to overdoses.

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“We got an epidemic that’s hitting small-town America,” Mirabella’s Restaurant owner Brendan Amodio said. “Thank you to Senator Hinchey and Samadhi for hosting this.”

A Narcan package.

Hinchey said when Narcan came into use a few years back, there were numerous training events, but those have slacked off in the last few years and she wants to see that change and get more people trained.

She said people also need to work to reduce the stigma around substance-use disorders, and one of the local leaders in this work is David McNamara, Samadhi’s executive director. Presently located next to the Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church in Kingston, the center offers a holistic approach to treating all sorts of addiction, from substance use to gambling.

McNamara led the training course, which showed participants how to administer Narcan to someone who’s suffering an overdose.

He demonstrated on Dennis Morgan, a peer advocate at Samadhi. He started by checking Morgan’s pulse, then if he was breathing. He said signs of an overdose include blue or black lips and pin-holed pupils, gasping and muscle spasms.

He said anyone administering Narcan should also yell the person’s name and if someone else is around, have them call 911. If they’re alone, they should wait on calling 911 and do an ear tug, then move right into chest compressions and sternum bumps before administering the Narcan, which is a nasal spray.

He said the spray should be administered in one nostril at first and wait 90 seconds to two minutes for the Narcan to take effect. McNamara told those on hand if there’s a need for a second dose, roll the person on their side in case they vomit and then administer the second dose in the other nostril.

He cautioned that Narcan can wear off in 30 minutes to two hours and explained that sometimes when someone is revived, they resist going to the hospital. He urged against that, but if they do, to make sure they leave with Narcan and make sure they have a buddy so they are not alone. He added that state Good Samaritan laws protect those who administer Narcan from legal issues. And it can make a difference, as he knows of a least 373 reversals as a result of Narcan use.

Anyone interested in getting qualified to administer Narcan or learning more about Samadhi’s in-person or Zoom programs, should call Samadhi at (845) 853-8148. Participants in Friday’s training received a Narcan training card and Narcan kits and fentanyl tests were also made available.

McNamara said while fentanyl is most commonly associated with heroin, it’s also recently showed up in cocaine and marijuana.

A view inside the changing room inside Hope Rocks’ new Jordan’s closest trailer which offers new or once used clothing to those on the road to recovery from substance use disorders.

Hope Rocks and Jordan’s Closet

Jordan’s Closet — Hope Rocks’ large mobile trailer that houses changing rooms and a selection of clothes targeted at those on the way to recovery from substance use — was parked outside Mirabella’s on Friday. “It’s for someone climbing back,” McNamara said. It’s named after Jordan Falzano, who had not used substances in a year and was set to talk at a Hope Rocks event on March 13, 2020. But then COVID-19 arrived and everything shut down and his support system was torn away when his meetings and peer support was torn away by the restrictions,” said Hope Rocks’ founder and executive director Joe Defino. “Sadly, within a few weeks, he used again and suffered a fatal overdose.”

Hope Rocks is an organization focused on bringing hope to those who are suffering the effects of addiction, depression and social isolation. Hope Rocks is hosting its main festival on August 14-15 at Cantine Field in Saugerties. Headlining the event are Michael Farris and The Voice finalist Ian Flanigan. Both Flanigan and Farris are members of the Hope Rocks’ advisory board. Jordan’s Closet will also be at the event.

Among the many speakers and presenters who will be at the festival are members from various local and national recovery groups and organizations. Hope Rocks’ advisory board member, YestoKindness founder and TED Talks contributor Tammy Joy Lane from Washington State will be presenting on proactive steps to address suicidal tendencies. Additionally, there will be food, crafters, art exhibitions and a special screening of the film Smacked, followed by a panel discussion about the film, which features the opiate problem in the Catskill region.

A view inside at the clothing racks inside Hope Rocks’ new Jordan’s Closest trailer which offers new or once used clothing to those on the road to recovery from substance use disorders.

“The purpose for the festival and all of Hope Rocks events is to not only get a discussion started and provide access to support, but to tear away the stigma and shame which accompany these issues and often prevent the healing process to begin. Festivals are fun and uplifting, and the Hope Rocks Festival is no different,” said Defino.

The festival began in 2017 and is believed to be the first festival of its kind completely devoted to addressing the epidemic of addiction, depression and social isolation. Since then, the Hope Rocks movement has evolved into programs, activities and events that span the calendar. Despite the shutdown of public events in 2020, Hope Rocks has managed to grow into national and international recognition with its virtual and online events and programming. “We have learned much during these dark days,” Defino said. “It has taught us about the depths of frustration and hardship that many face every day. It has inspired us to move out of our comfort zone and find ways to reach out and let people know they are not alone and provide support in unique ways.”

For more information about Hope Rocks and Jordan’s Closet, visit www.hoperocksny.com.