Victoria fire receives training
Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016
In response to increasing rates of opioid overdose deaths in the area, Joe Burton of the Crossroads Community Services Board, invited The Chris Atwood Foundation to come teach an opioid overdose reversal class at the Victoria Fire Department.
Over 30 community members, fire fighters, EMS and police officers gathered Thursday night to learn how to use a medication called naloxone, also known by the brand name, Narcan, to reverse the life threatening symptoms of an overdose from opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers.
Naloxone, which is administered as a nasal spray, is a safe, effective medication that is non-habit forming, can’t be abused, and reverses an opioid overdose in as little as 30 seconds.
Opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled nationwide in the past decade, and doubled in Virginia from 2013-2014, according to a press release. “Overdose now kills more Americans each year than car accidents.”
Virginia passed legislation in 2015 allowing laypersons and law enforcement to carry naloxone without a prescription, and by the end of March, CVS in Virginia will offer the medication over the counter, the release stated.
“Naloxone is supported by many leading health organizations including the World Health Organization, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.”
The instructor of the class, Ginny Lovitt, noted that naloxone has received pushback by some who believe that making it widely available will encourage people to use more drugs.
“There is no evidence to suggest this is the case. In fact, studies have shown that individuals who have naloxone administered on them are statistically more likely to seek treatment,” she said.
She also noted that individuals with an opioid addiction will usually try to avoid anything that would cause naloxone to be used on them because it produces powerful, but non-life-threatening withdrawal symptoms that are extremely unpleasant.
To learn more about the Chris Atwood naloxone program, visit www.TheCAF.org or email TheChrisAtwoodFoundation@gmail.com.