White County Anti-Drug Coalition wants to host free Naloxone training sessions throughout the community, but, according to chairperson Beth Kirby, they need the community’s help in finding safe ways to do so.
“With the COVID-19 and all of the safety precautions that are in place because of it, it has been hard to find ways to host trainings this year,” Kirby said in regard to what the coalition considers a lack of trainings during 2020. “But it is more important now than ever to get Naloxone to people who use prescription opioids or live with or near someone who does, so that we can prevent as many overdose deaths as possible.”
Naloxone is a medicine that works to rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and can be administered by anyone who completes the free training the coalition has offered in the past and is looking to offer again, multiple times if possible, in the new year.
“We know that getting large groups of people together isn’t going to be feasible, so we would like to conduct either drop-in style trainings or even drive-thru trainings, or both,” Kirby said.
While a full group training can take an hour or more, Kirby indicated the drive-thru or drop-in trainings would be able to be completed in 10-to-15-minute intervals.
In the final meeting of 2020, White County Anti-Drug Coalition members brainstormed ideas for places and events in which the training could take place. Ideas such as Community Food Distributions, using the American Legion Building, reaching out to the high school’s medical-oriented classes as well as many of their clubs to offer virtual training via videoconferencing, and checking in with community clubs and organizations such as Rotary, Chamber and the local YMCA were discussed.
“Ridding people of the stigma behind taking the training is the biggest obstacle,” Kirby said. “We don’t want you to take the training because we think you are a drug addict; we want you to take the training because accidents happen, and you might be able to save a life.”
Kirby said with more people staying at home, the likelihood of accidental overdoses by people who may have forgotten if they already took their prescribed opioids or by young children getting into older family members’ medications increases.
“It could be your mother, grandfather, child, neighbor – overdoses can happen to anyone anywhere,” she said.
The coalition is asking that if any member of the community has a business or an event planned for the upcoming year and would be willing to let them host a completely free drive-through or walk-up type training that they contact Beth Kirby at Sparta Discount Drug Center by calling (931) 837-5000.
“Every person over the age of 18 who completes the short training session will be given their own Naloxone kit,” she added. “We want to save as many lives as possible.”