MIAMI COUNTY — In an effort to curb heroin and opioid overdoses and deaths, Miami County Public Health (MCPH) will be providing free naloxone kits and training to the public.
MCPH is now participating in an opioid overdose education and naloxone distribution program called Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone). The program is funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Health.
Naloxone — also commonly known as Narcan — has only one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system in order to prevent death. According to MCPH, naloxone has no potential for abuse. If naloxone is given to a person who is not experiencing an opioid overdose, it is harmless.
Individuals who know someone who is at-risk for an opioid overdose and individuals who are at-risk of opioid overdose are eligible to participate in the program. Project DAWN is open to anyone 18 and older. Participants do not have to be a Miami County resident to receive training and get a kit, said Jordan Phillips, injury prevention coordinator of the Miami County Public Health Department.
“We want to maximize Project DAWN’s impact by prioritizing naloxone availability to people who are at highest risk for opioid overdose. This group includes people with acute and chronic pain, as well as heroin users, and non-medical users of prescription opioids,” Phillips said.
Project DAWN kits will be distributed by MCPH every Tuesday from noon to 1:30 p.m., or by appointment. Program participants must first receive education on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, how to respond to the overdose by calling 911 and giving rescue breaths, and how to administer naloxone as a nasal spray.
At the conclusion of the 45-minute education session, participants receive a free kit containing two doses of naloxone nasal spray.
Supplies are limited, so the kits will be distributed on a first-come, first serve basis. The training and kits are free of charge, as are refills.
According to MCPH epidemiologist Janel Hodges, there have been 23 suspected overdose deaths in Miami County as of April 2017.
“These deaths have not been confirmed through autopsies, but it is difficult to get accurate, ongoing numbers because the morgue is so behind in autopsies,” Phillips noted.
In all of 2016, there were 20 overdose deaths for Miami County.
Paula Detrick, Director of Miami County Families of Addicts (FOA), said that naloxone kits are an empowering tool that will help save lives.
“Someone who has the drug at hand can administer — I consider it — first aid and be the first responder,” she said.
MCPH will provide training and distribute kits at the June 6 FOA meeting.
FOA meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday of every month from 7-8:30 p.m. at Grace Family Worship, 725 Lincoln Ave., Troy.
“We’re hoping that this cuts down on deaths related to overdose,” Detrick said.
An opioid includes both prescription painkillers (Percocet, OxyContin, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Morphine, Fentanyl) and heroin.
Naloxone does not reverse overdoses that are caused by non-opioid drugs, such as cocaine, benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium), methamphetamines, or alcohol.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment for Project DAWN, call 330-573-3500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional addiction resources, visit www.miamicountyhealth.net.
Reach Cecilia Fox at email@example.com