Free Naloxone training being offered to community

Published 5:32 pm Monday, May 8, 2017

In less than a minute, an opioid overdose can be reversed and save an individual’s life.
Looking to take steps in hampering the opioid epidemic in Tennessee, Carter County held the first of two free Naloxone training sessions on Monday, May 8, in the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library community room. The public is invited to the second workshop, scheduled for Thursday, May 11, at 6 p.m., also inside the library.
Naloxone is a medication developed to help reverse opioid overdoses and can be administered by different methods, including by a shot and nasal spray.
“We have a very high rate of accidental overdose deaths in this area,” said Sarah Melton, professor of Pharmacy Practice at the East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. “As community members, we need to be prepared when we come across anyone that may have overdosed. This is an opportunity to save them. I’d just encourage anybody that has a family member, friend or anybody they work with that they’re worried about who may overdose to come out to a training event.”
Melton led Monday’s training session and provided details about the medication, including the chance to debunking myths about Naloxone.
“This doesn’t have any lasting effect on anyone, it isn’t just another drug,” she said. “This is just used for people that are experiencing opioid overdoses. Opioids are the medicines that are used to treat pain. Typically this means hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl. Those kinds of medicines. But it also includes heroin. It is a drug that a lot of people don’t really think about. It is not in our region, yet, but it is coming and that’s where we are seeing lots of deaths.”
Information provided by the Tennessee Department of Health stated that 1,451 residents lost their lives to drug overdoses in 2015 with nearly 72 percent involving opioids — a 13.8 increase from the year prior. TDH also recently issued a public health advisory of fentanyl.
The state has taken numerous steps to allow easier access for the medication, Melton added. Tennessee allowed the passage of Public Chapter 596 to authorize pharmacists statewide to dispense the Naloxone with a prescription and House Bill 448 – heading to the State House – would require the state’s Board of Education to set up guidelines for Naloxone in schools.
“It is really important and great because it has increased access,” Melton said about the measures taken by the state. “You don’t have to go to your doctor’s office and get a prescription. You can walk into any pharmacy that participates and tell them ‘I want to get trained in Naloxone’ and they’ll  get you in the right direction. You can go home with the prescription that day.”
The price range for Naloxone ranges from $35 to $4,000 depending on the type of way an individual plans on administering but can be accessed free of charge depending on an individual’s health insurance plan. Naloxone is covered by Tennessee Medicaid, also known as TennCare.
“A lot of the commercial insurances are covering Naloxone as well,” Melton added. “You just need to check with your plan and see.”
Carter County has become more active in addressing opioid abuse with the Elizabethton Police Department recently benefitting from a grant opportunity that allows officers to have Naloxone on the road with them in case of emergencies.
For more information about Naloxone training, contact Jilian Reece, Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition Director, at or visit Carter County Drug Prevention Coalition’s Facebook page online.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox