Learn how to use Narcan to cure opioid overdoses

Online event Feb. 9 will provide attendees with ‘Save A Life’ kits

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 22, 2021

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HAZEL PARK — Prior to the coronavirus, the country was grappling with another health crisis: addiction to opioids. And that health crisis still grips this country. The powerful drugs are prescribed to relieve pain but can addict users, leading to risk of death by overdose.

In response, more and more community groups have been holding public events to train community members on the use of naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan. The drug, administered via an intra-nasal spray, can quickly counter the effects of an overdose. Symptoms of an overdose can include pinpoint pupils, confusion, slow or absent breathing, cold and clammy skin, a slow heartbeat and low blood pressure, blue lips and blue nails, and unconsciousness.

The Hazel Park Community Coalition, or HPCC, is partnering with the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities for a virtual training event 7-8 p.m. Feb. 9. Pre-registration is required for the event. To register, visit hazelparkcc.org/events.  

Those 14 years of age or older will receive a ‘Save A Life’ kit, which includes two doses of 4-milligram nasal Narcan. A survey must be completed at the end of the training in order to receive a kit. More information is available by calling the Alliance at (248) 221-7101.

“The Narcan itself is a tremendous value,” Tracy Chirikas, the Narcan trainer at the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, said in a statement. “Each Narcan kit, which is mailed for free to the participants at the training, is valued at $225.”

The Hazel Park Police Department and the Hazel Park Fire Department will be participating in the event, which will teach people how to administer Narcan to a person exhibiting signs of overdose.

Kelsey Dovico, the executive director of the HPCC, said the last Narcan training event that took place in Hazel Park was several years ago.

“One of my goals as the new executive director is to make sure that Hazel Park community members have access to and are educated about life-saving overdose reversal protocols,” Dovico said via email. “At the Fire Department … they frequently have to replenish the department’s supply of Narcan because of the volume of overdose calls they respond to.

“Opioid overdose is a serious problem in our community. Every person who takes the free hour-long training is contributing to a culture of community awareness and education about the crisis,” she said. “Some people may think, ‘I don’t have an opioid-using family member, so I don’t need this,’ but that’s not true. Many people who have taken this training have helped someone they didn’t know  — someone they came upon while shopping, eating out, going to a grocery store, or someone they’re a little closer to, like a neighbor or a colleague. Everyone who has a dose of Narcan on hand and are trained to administer it could literally save the life of a person who has overdosed.”

The coalition is also holding a virtual community panel 6-7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 on the topic of human trafficking. To register for the webinar and access the link via Zoom, visit the HPCC website at hazelparkcc.org/events.

That event will discuss who’s at risk of being trafficked, the occurrence of human trafficking in the community, and how to be part of the solution. The event is free and recommended for anyone ages 13 and older. 

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