A team from the HIV Alliance in Douglas County spent two days at the fair last week, in the Douglas Public Health Network booth, teaching people how to use a drug called naloxone, that is used to bring people out of a coma after they have overdosed on opioid drugs.
Brandy Schlacht, a prevention specialist for the HIV Alliance and Christin Depner, a prescription drug overdose coordinator, spent time educating people on the benefits of the drug naloxone and how to administer it.
The naloxone is a medicine you can give to someone who is too sleepy or can’t be woken up due to opioids. Schlacht said it is a lifesaver, and it’s easy to use. She said the drug can be injected or can be given as a nasal spray.
“Naloxone is an overdose prevention. There’s been a rise in drug overdoses, both prescription and otherwise, so we’re here to train everybody and create the awareness that the naloxone is there, so we’re here to help save lives,” Schlacht said.
The naloxone works in the brain to block opioid receptors and brings the victim out of an overdose. The drug works on people who have overdosed on opioids, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, hydromorphone, morphine, oxymorphone, fentanyl, buprenorphine, methadone and heroin.
“This medication brings them out of the overdose, but it only lasts about 45 minutes so you want to make sure you call 9-1-1 and get them into medical care, but this medication brings them out of that overdose very quickly,” Depner said .
An increase in drug overdose, and an increase in overdose deaths in Douglas County prompted the HIV Alliance to get involved and try to get the drug out to all the agencies, and make sure they know how to administer it.
Not all first responders have the naloxone with them yet, but that’s one thing they’re trying to accomplish, to get all of them to carry it, so when they come upon someone who is overdosed, they can bring them back long enough to get to the medical facility for treatment, and save their life.
First responders and others can watch a training video that’s about seven minutes long, which shows them step by step how to use the drug and when to use it. The entire training takes about 15 minutes or less.
Schlacht and Depner have been talking to family members, friends, first responders and anyone else that is interested in knowing about naloxone, so they’re doing a lot of community education.
“A lot of pharmacies in Douglas County are carrying it,” Depner said. “We have information on what pharmacies have and and what pharmacists are training on it, so it’s out there, it’s just getting the awareness out.”
Anyone interested in finding out more about naloxone, can call the HIV Alliance at 866-470-3419.