In this July 2016 file photo, Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines and Officer Robert Backlund check out the new Narcan kits the department had just received. An upcoming workshop will equip community members with Narcan kits and teach them how to use them.

In this July 2016 file photo, Madison Heights Police Chief Corey Haines and Officer Robert Backlund check out the new Narcan kits the department had just received. An upcoming workshop will equip community members with Narcan kits and teach them how to use them.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Workshop to provide Narcan training for opioid overdoses

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published March 29, 2019

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MADISON HEIGHTS — With the opioid crisis continuing to claim lives, health officials see an ever-increasing need for ordinary citizens to know what to do when faced with someone suffering from an overdose. Time is of the essence in such a situation.

At an upcoming workshop, attendees will receive Narcan kits and learn how to use them to save lives. The workshop will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, April 8, in the Madison Heights Fire Department’s training room, located at 31313 Brush St.

Pre-registration is required since seating is limited. Individuals must be 18 or older to receive a Narcan kit. They must also have a state-issued photo ID. Register at tinyurl.com/achcmhcc training.

The event is sponsored by the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, Oakland Community Health Network, the Madison Heights Community Coalition, the city of Madison Heights, the Madison Heights Fire Department and the Madison Heights Police Department.

The effects 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, unconsciousness, and even death.

Paramedics and police officers in Madison Heights carry Narcan — also known as naloxone — to quickly counter the effects of an overdose. The drug is administered via an intra-nasal spray.

“The event is designed to equip our audience with the proper use and administration of intra-nasal Narcan,” said Tracy Chirikas, community relations manager for the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities. “It’s for all community members.”

Those who attend the entire training session on April 8 will receive a “Save a Life” kit that contains one red zipper pouch, two doses of 4-milligram intra-nasal Narcan, one pair of nitrile gloves, a CPR mask, and resource guides to connect people with the help they need.

“If a person uses their kit, all we ask is that they contact us with their name, date and location of training, and if it was used in a save,” Chirikas said. “An additional kit will be issued through our office with their proper identification.

“There are so many great tools that we can add to our toolboxes that afford us the opportunity to be part of the solution in saving lives,” she continued. “Narcan training is one such thing that everyone should be trained in, just like CPR. The life you save may in fact be your loved one.”

Kimberly Heisler, executive director of the Madison Heights Community Coalition, said that she hopes people will show up to learn this lifesaving technique.

“I have been personally affected by the opioid crisis, and am sad to report that I have seen beautiful lives lost due to this awful epidemic. No one is immune and many suffer, whether it is individuals or their families,” Heisler said. “Addiction is a disease that is hard to beat, and having access to Narcan is a way to not only save a life, but also give an individual a chance to recover.”

Heisler added that “the stigma of addiction needs to end” — a sentiment shared by Chirikas.

“Most of the general public thinks that Narcan is for ‘those people,’ and they couldn’t be farther from the truth. ‘Those people’ are in fact our parents, grandparents, neighbors, etc.”, Chirikas said.

She noted that collaborative efforts between the Alliance, Oakland Community Health Network and emergency first responders to conduct communitywide training led to a 28 percent decrease in the overdose rate in 2018.

“Collaboration and education are key components that work effectively to combat this epidemic,” Chirikas said. “One life lost to an accidental overdose is one death too many.”

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