Naloxone training courses to be offered to public

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tools are being made readily available for citizens of Carter County as Tennessee continues to ramp up activity to tackle opioid abuse and overdose.
In conjunction with the Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition (CCDP) and East Tennessee State University, a pair of community training sessions will be open to the public to teach citizens how to properly administer Naloxone — a life-saving nasal spray medication used to reverse the effect of opioid overdoses.
Training sessions will be held Monday, May 8, at 10 a.m. and Thursday, May 11, at 6 p.m. inside the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library. The events are free and open to residents and will be led by ETSU Professor of Pharmacy Practice Sarah T. Melton, PharmD, BCPP, BCACP, FASCP.
An issue with opioids is ever-apparent, according to CCDP Director Jilian Reece, and doesn’t always involve habitual drug users.
“The benefit of having Naloxone is if your grandma, your mother, anybody that’s on opioids accidentally overdoses, this drug will save their life,” Reece said. “There are no real negative effects with Naloxone. If I drank it today, it wouldn’t harm me. If I’m not on opioids, it wouldn’t do anything to me today. It’s just a great tool to have in case something were to happen.”
Recent data provided by the Tennessee Department of Health indicated 1,451 people passed away from drug overdoses in the state in 2015. The Department stated the number was the highest annual number of overdose deaths recorded in the state’s history and brings the five-year total for Tennessee to 6,036 lives lost.
Having tools like Naloxone available will assist in tackling overdoses, according to the state.
“This is a disease every one of us is vulnerable to, not a moral failing. Not one of these victims deserved this, and the tragedy of lives lost to overdoses becomes even more painful knowing these deaths can be prevented and are the horrible tip of the overdose iceberg,” TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner said in a previously issued statement to the Elizabethton Star. “We’ve made progress in reducing the amount of powerful narcotics legally dispensed and in making the overdose antidote Naloxone more readily available, but there are still many people battling substance use disorders without seeking professional help and many criminals willing to sell extremely dangerous pills, counterfeit pills and gray and illegal substances.”
Reece added Naloxone is easily accessible for the people and encouraged individuals to make the opportunity to secure the sprays.
“Naloxone is very easily accessible,” Reece said. “ We encourage businesses, churches and people in the community just to have this. We never know when somebody could walk through our door and that this could save a life.”
CCDP board members met in downtown Elizabethton Wednesday afternoon and also discussed upcoming plans to help with drug prevention locally, including learning about a health speaker series scheduled for May 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Elizabethton – which will discuss the topic of opioids.
The region has started to become more active when addressing the issues. The Elizabethton Police Department recently benefitted from a grant opportunity that allows the department to have Naloxone available in case of emergencies.
For more information on how to get involved with the prevention agency, contact Reece at or visit Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition’s Facebook page online.

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