BERRIEN COUNTY, MI. (WNDU) – The month of August is International Overdose Awareness Month, and August 31st is International Overdose Awareness day.
To recognize it, the Berrien County Health Department is educating residents on overdose prevention, and supplying free Narcan kits.
“This one spray can save a life,” says Lisa Peeples-Hurst, the Public Health and Prevention Supervisor with the BCHD.
Narcan is an FDA approved prescription medicine that can block the effects of opioids, reversing an overdose in minutes.
“And it is our soul aiming to get this life saving Narcan in the hands of our folks in the community,” says Peeples-Hurst.
However, Narcan can cost upwards of $130 for a two pack kit. A price many residents can’t afford.
Which is why the Berrien County Health Department hosted two back to back drive-thru training events, to educate the community about overdoses and distribute free Narcan kits.
“You get two of the nasal sprays. Then we also have some other resources from some other different agencies. There are a pair of gloves that are in here, and a face shield,” says Shannon Larry-Burton, a Prevention Specialist at BCHD. “What we are talking with them about is, What increases the risk for a fatal overdose. We also talk to them about how to prevent the overdose and also recognizing the overdose.”
Also being taught, is the helpful acronym – SCAREME
That stands for: Stimulate, Call 9-1-1, Airway, Rescue Breathing, Evaluate, Mucosal Atomization (nasal spray), and Evaluate and Support.
The steps to follow in order to help a person experiencing a suspected overdose.
“We have been keeping data since 2011, where Berrien County had 4 overdose deaths. In 2018 it was 54. And in 2019 it went down to 21. We haven’t gotten our Covid-19 data yet, but we know that we’ve had an increase,” says Peeples-Hurst.
The Berrien County Health Department says, that by providing free trainings and Narcan kits, as well as having open conversations, they hope to change the stigma around overdose, help people get their loved ones back on the right track, and save lives.
They also want to remind the public that Michigan has a “good Samaritan” law, meaning they will not prosecute anyone that alerts first responders to a potential overdose.
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