The opioid epidemic is spreading from coast to coast and within its destructive path has taken countless lives due to opioid related overdose. On average, more than 192 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. Many advocates and especially those who work within the prevention world are working diligently to combat this epidemic in hopes that we can reduce overdose numbers.
One of the best lines of defense has been the accessibility and understanding of the use of Naloxone, the medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, it very quickly restores breathing to an individual who has overdosed. Naloxone can be administered three ways, intranasal, intramuscular, and intravenous; it is so safe that it can be used on pregnant women or even children. Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) has obtained a grant that enables trainers to educate and disburse the intranasal form of Naloxone, known as Narcan to community members and businesses in need. Within the last year ASAC has worked with many local community serving organizations, CRUSH of Iowa, an opioid use disorder family and friends support group and Linn County Board of Health Opioid Steering Committee to combat overdose, stigma, and Narcan availability.
As stated by a recent study, all states that have access to Narcan and the Good Samaritan law saw a 14-15% lower incidence of opioid-overdose mortality and there was no evidence that these measures were associated with increased non-medical opioid use. The Good Samaritan law, a law in which you are not liable if you provide reasonable assistance to those who are, or who they believe to be, injured, ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated. This also includes not being liable for being impaired or being in possession of paraphernalia or substances if you were to call an emergency response service in order to aid someone else’s safety. It has been proven through evidence based research that these measures of harm reduction should be considered an important component of the strategy use to address the opioid overdose epidemic.
With the upcoming New Year, Area Substance Abuse Council will continue to build and establish relationships of community members and businesses in need and aim to provide more outreach to those who are affected by this epidemic. This increased awareness and cooperation of many affiliates has paved the positive direction of Linn County Officers carrying Narcan and increased the understanding of community members to support the battle against this epidemic. Naloxone accessibility, in conjunction with the Good Samaritan Law, has already proven through evidence based research that this activism is important to saving the lives of thousands of people every day. One must remember that the only thing that Naloxone enables is breathing.
To get help for yourself or a loved one call ASAC at (319) 390-4611. If you would like additional information on Naloxone please contact Erin Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org or (319) 390-1884 ext 186.