Photo: Michael's Hope

Riverhead Free Library will host a presentation on heroin and opioid addiction and a free Narcan training at the library on Tuesday, June 14 from 6  to  8 p.m.

Michael’s Hope, a nonprofit organization founded by a  Laurel man who lost his brother to a heroin overdose in 2012, will present a program on the heroin epidemic in our local communities at 6 p.m.

Paul Maffetone, founder of Michael's Hope. Courtesy photo
Paul Maffetone, founder of Michael’s Hope. Courtesy photo

Paul Maffetone, whose brother Michael lost his battle with addiction at age 29, and members of Michael’s Hope — people who have struggled with addiction themselves or had heroin or opioid addiction affect the lives of loved ones — will discuss the impacts of addiction on families and communities.

The mission of Michael’s Hope is to raise awareness about the growing heroin epidemic, Maffetone says. Denial is a major obstacle in the fight to eradicate the drug, he says.

“This drug has no bias,” Maffetone says. “It finds its was into the hands of anybody. Parents, please stop saying “NOT MY KID” and starting realizing that it is your kid and everyone’s kid.”

Opiate overdose fatalities have risen as opiate use and addiction has increased. The number of opiate overdose deaths in Suffolk County had increased by more 72 percent between 2004 and 2011 — before Narcan was first made widely available in 2012. Opiate overdose deaths peaked in 2011 at 191.

In 2015, there were 126 opiate overdose deaths in Suffolk — and more than 500 Narcan overdose reversals, according to the county health department.

Following the Michael’s Hope presentation, representatives of the county health department will conduct the training session, teaching people how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and what to do about it.

2016_0224_narcan_kitNaloxone (brand name: Narcan) is easy and safe to administer and can reverse opioid overdose within minutes.

People who register for and complete the training will receive a free home Narcan kit.

The class is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Greater Riverhead.

RSVP for this session is required. Call 631-463-5810 or email


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