Drug overdose deaths have been increasing in the United States and in Suffolk County for more than a decade. The majority of drug overdose deaths have involved opioids. The Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) has developed a number of strategies to help combat the opioid epidemic. Residents are encouraged to help us help the community in this effort.
Substance Abuse Hotline – 631-979-1700
On April 1, 2016 the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) and the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) joined forces to operate a 24/7 Substance Abuse Hotline for individuals in crisis or who are contemplating sobriety as well as to family and friends of those suffering from addiction. The hotline connects callers to treatment services. LICADD works collaboratively with the Suffolk County Communities of Solution (COS) provider network to ensure timely access to quality substance abuse care.
Substance Abuse/Drug Activity Palm Cards
SCDHS distributes palm cards with both the Substance Abuse Hotline number and a number individuals may use 24/7 to anonymously report suspected drug activity to the Suffolk County Police Department. The Drug Hotline number is 631-852-NARC (6272). The palm cards are available in Spanish and English and have become an important resource in the community. To obtain palm cards for distribution, call the SCDHS Office of Public Information: 631-854-0095.
SCDHS operates four Methadone Maintenance Treatment clinics in Suffolk County. As a result of increased demand for services, in 2016, the department expanded its staff. Individuals in need of methadone treatment can apply for services at the two intake clinics in Hauppauge and Riverhead. For more information, visit
School Based Peer-Education Pilot Program
In 2015, SCDHS and the Sachem Central School District joined forces to administer the Peer-to-Peer Substance Abuse Prevention Education Program, which recognizes the value and importance of peers serving as role models and educating each other about substance-abuse prevention. The Peer-to-Peer Substance Abuse Prevention education program will be offered as an elective course to Sachem High School students beginning in the 2017-2018 school year.
In 2016, SCDHS began working with the Patchogue-Medford School District on sculpting the Peer-to-Peer Substance Abuse Prevention Education program to meet the needs of their student population. For more information about this program, call 631-853-8554 or contact
The SCDHS Vivitrol program began in the Suffolk County correctional facilities on August 2015. Inmates who qualify receive education regarding substance abuse and are offered medication-assisted treatment and referral to community services prior to release.
Opioid Overdose Prevention Classes (Narcan)
Opioid Overdose Prevention Program trains participants how to recognize an opioid overdose, administer intranasal Narcan (an opioid overdose antidote), and take appropriate steps until EMS arrives. Participants (adults only) receive certification as Trained Overdose Responders as well as an emergency resuscitation kit that includes two doses of Narcan. Due to this program, thousands of ordinary citizens who would not otherwise have access to Narcan, are now able to save lives. Using a strategy of “force multiplication,” SCDHS is strengthening local response to heroin and non-heroin opioid related overdoses. For a listing of classes visit:
Opioid Overdose Prevention – Narcan -- classes.
History of Suffolk County Health’s Narcan Program
Narcan has been used for decades as an antidote to opioid overdose. The drug has been safe and effective in reversing opioid overdoses; however, it was initially limited to use in hospitals and by paramedics, using needles, thereby limiting its accessibility.
2006: Injectable Narcan
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) developed the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program (OOPP). The program provided education on risks for overdose and recognizing signs of overdose along with Narcan to people who were at risk of overdosing on opioids, as well as their families and friends. Narcan, at this point, could be administered using an intramuscular injection with a needle only.
2012: Pilot Demonstration Program
Mucosal Atomizer Device (MAD), allowing Narcan to be administered through the nose, commonly known as “nasal Narcan," became available on the marketplace. For the first time, Narcan administration by inhalation became an option for saving lives.
Suffolk Health’s’ Division of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) participated in the NYSDOH Pilot Project to demonstrate that the use of Mucosal Atomizer Device (MAD) by Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) could be effective in reversing opioid overdoses. The pilot was a success and EMTs were authorized by the NYS Commissioner of Health to administer nasal Narcan as part of their scope of practice.
2013: Registered Opioid Overdose Prevention Program
Suffolk Health became a NYS Registered Opioid Overdose Prevention Program (OOPP) and successfully petitioned the NYSDOH to allow laypeople to use nasal Narcan in an effort to expand the capacity to save lives beyond the EMS System
In November 2013, Suffolk Health conducted the county’s first Narcan class for laypeople.
2015: Narcan Reversal Follow Up
SCDHS joined LICADD to follow up and offer assistance to individuals who experienced opioid reversals by Suffolk County police. Up to three calls are made by a certified clinician to offer support and encourage entry into treatment.
2016: Suffolk Health and Local Hospitals Form Partnership
In 2016, Suffolk Health began partnering with local hospitals to identify patients who are at risk of opioid overdose to provide them and their families with naloxone kits and also educate them about overdose risk factors and the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose
By the end of 2016, Suffolk Health had trained more than 7,500 individuals, including:
- General population, including drug users and their families and friends,
- Domestic violence shelter staff,
- Suffolk crime lab,
- Suffolk probation,
- Suffolk sheriffs,
- Suffolk Department of Social Services’ guards,
- Town and village police departments,
- Suffolk veterans services,
- Youth enrichment services,
- Substance abuse counselors and addiction specialists,
- Nursing students,
- School nurses/faculty/staff/administrators,
- Suffolk jail medical unit staff , and corrections officers,
- Mobile community crisis action teams.
Additionally, Suffolk Health trained 5,000 Emergency Medical Technicians. (Every ambulance in every community in the 911 system has Narcan.)
History of Reported Narcan Reversals/Lives Saved: