Central Park run pairs Narcan training with wellness gathering
Running and Narcan is an unlikely combination, but Zac Clark makes it work.
Clark is the founder of The Release Foundation, which hosts Monday night runs in Central Park where the focus is recovery.
“When you think about an overdose, there’s no more life there,” Clark told News 12 New York. “For me in my recovery journey, one of the biggest things that I’ve picked up is the ability to move.” About 80 people gather in Central Park to do just that. But before they run the park’s 6.1 mile loop, they got a lesson in how to save a life.
Lauren Eskenazi is a clinician who trains people on how to use Narcan – the drug that reverses opioid overdoses. More than 3,000 people died of drug overdoses in New York City in 2022. She says the first step to saving a life is to know the signs of an overdose. Usually, the person is passed out and breathing very slowly, or not at all.
“You’re going to take your knuckles and grind into the person’s sternum, you’re going to try to wake them up,” Eskenazi told the crowd. “If they don’t wake up, then you’re going to administer the Narcan.” Eskenazi also says that Narcan is safe to use on someone even if opioids aren’t present. She says if you administer Narcan, you are protected by the Good Samaritan Law, which means you can’t get arrested.
Queens native Elizabeth Tam attended the event to help people in her community. “I'm from Hells Kitchen, and there’s unfortunately there’s a lot of people that are on drugs there,” Tam told News 12 New York. “The other day, I was walking to work and I saw a woman passed out in the middle of the crosswalk, and I saw this event online, and I was like you know what - with everything I’ve seen recently, it really motivated me to come out.” Clark says if just one life is saved by this training, his mission will be realized.
“If we could combat this opioid epidemic by having a Narcan training, which is hopefully going to save lives and then inspiring people to move and enhance their wellness, it’s the perfect combination. Unlikely, but perfect.” When participants are finished, they get a slice of pizza and a Narcan kit. Visit Health.ny.gov for more information on where you can get Narcan.