Health Department launches campaign to prevent nightlife overdoses

Posted: Updated:

The Health Department is seeing a spike in overdoses across the city and has created a plan to target areas where people might be using, such as bars and clubs.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot says New York City has had seven consecutive years of increasing deaths from drug overdose. She says it is driven by the presence of fentanyl.

Now, the Health Department says fentanyl is being found occasionally in cocaine.

Department of Health staff is working with bars and clubs in northern Brooklyn beginning Thursday, using posters and coasters showing partygoers how to stay safe.

"Nightlife is a bubbling cauldron of art, dance and self-expression where individuals feel safe to explore and experiment sometimes," says Jacqui Rabkin, marketing director at House of Yes. "This includes substance use, and sometimes nightlife staff are the first responders to drug overdose or crisis."

Tips including carrying naloxone to prevent overdoses. They add that if someone is going to use cocaine, to use around another person so that someone can call 911 for them, if necessary.

A similar campaign on the Lower East Side has shown good results. Those who live in the area think it's valuable.

"I think information being available to the public is amazing and I think having the physical resources, having naloxone kits available ... that's lifesaving, that's absolutely necessary," says Peter Mercury, of Bushwick.

The Health Department reminds people that naloxone is available to those who need it at pharmacies across the area.


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