WEST CHESTER, PA — Individuals, businesses, community organizations, restaurant and hospitality employees, and others interested in learning how to properly administer Naloxone to those experiencing a drug overdose can attend a free Community Naloxone Training on Tuesday, July 19 at 2 p.m. at the Oscar Lasko YMCA in West Chester, state Senator Carolyn Comitta said.
The event is being supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs (DDAP), the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA), the West Chester Business Improvement District, and Good Fellowship Ambulance and EMS Training Institute.
Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, is a medication that can rapidly reverse an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids.
“Too many of our friends and neighbors have sadly lost loved ones to opioid and drug addiction. We all have a role to play in working to prevent further tragedies in our community,” Comitta said. “Learning to identify the signs of overdose and how to safely and effectively administer Naloxone is an important step that can help save lives. I encourage all community members to join us for this informative event so that they can be prepared and empowered to act in case of an emergency.”
Since 2014, previous Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine and current Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson, signed standing orders allowing members of the general public and first responders to obtain naloxone from their local pharmacy. More recently, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency partnered with Prevention Point Pittsburgh and NEXT Distro to support a statewide mail-based naloxone program for individuals to request medication for personal use.
“Naloxone is truly lifesaving and one of our greatest assets in the management of the overdose crisis in Pennsylvania,” said DDAP Secretary Jen Smith. “You never know when you may come across someone who is suffering from an overdose and having naloxone with you could mean the difference between life or death. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to take advantage of this resource and events like this one that increase your knowledge of naloxone’s life-saving capability and comfort level in administering it.”
A recent study found that 1 out of 3 overdoses occur in the presence of a bystander. Readily available naloxone administered by a trained bystander can help save a life until emergency medical care can arrive.
“Overdoses can happen anywhere, and we want to make sure that the West Chester Community has the resources and training needed to deal with this disease,” said John O’Brien, Executive Director of the West Chester Business Improvement District.
“Last year in Chester County we lost more than 100 lives to accidental drug overdose in Chester County, a majority of which involved opioids,” said Vince Brown, Director of Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services. “We must work together to provide comprehensive solutions to the opioid epidemic, naloxone access being one part. The medication saves lives. And once stabilized following an overdose, someone who is suffering from an Opioid Use Disorder has a chance to obtain treatment and recovery; and we know, treatment works and recovery is possible.”
“The hospitality industry, like many others, has been significantly impacted by the opioid epidemic. It’s vital that we spread the word about the resources available so our operators, employees, and communities are equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to address the challenges we’re facing,” said Ben Fileccia, PRLA’s Senior Director of Operations. “We appreciate Sen. Comitta’s and Secretary Smith’s efforts and outreach on this subject and for including us in this important conversation.”
Registration for the free training event is required and interested individuals can sign up by going to pasenatorcomitta.com/register or by calling Senator Comitta’s office at (610) 692-2112
Information on ways to obtain naloxone is available on DDAP’s website https://www.ddap.pa.gov/overdose/Pages/Naloxone_Reversal.aspx.
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid use disorder, the Chester County Drug and Alcohol Services confidential referral hotline is available at 1-866-286-3767.
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