HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico County leaders are giving residents in the greater Richmond area an opportunity to learn how to potentially save someone's life who has overdosed on opioids.
The County Health Department is partnering with Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services to offer free classes on how to administer the life-saving drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan.
"We never know when a parent is going to overtake their medication or a loved one would,” said Leslie Stephen, LCSW, Program Manager at Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services. “It would be nice for every single person to have this."
For Stephen, she's committed to helping people overcome their opioid addictions; knowing what her patients have gone through before stepping into her office.
“Many of the people who are in recovery have overdosed,” Stephen said. “Some more than once, more than twice, some more than five times, and without something like naloxone wouldn’t be here.”
She added most of her patients are advocating for the public to learn how to use this life-saving medication.
Its why free classes are being held in Henrico over the next few months to teach people how to administer the drug.
"It's a very simple way to administer,” Stephen said. “It is a nasal spray. So, the person will be unconscious, and you go up and simply spray the medication in their nose."
According to Henrico County’s Bounce Back from Addiction, every 12 hours someone in Virginia dies from an opioid overdose. Stephen added knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with this epidemic.
"Absolutely,” she said. “I think knowing how to reverse overdoses, knowing that there are treatment methods out there."
According to Stephen, there were at least 45 opioid overdose deaths reported in Henrico in 2018, which reiterates why County leaders want to hold these free classes on how to administer the live-saving medication.
"We all have heard about the opioid epidemic and this really gives each and every one of us a tool to really combat it," Stephen said.
The classes will be held:
- Thursday, May 30, 6 p.m. at Henrico Arms Apartments, 1566 Edge Lawn Circle;
- Thursday, June 13, 6 p.m. at Belmont Recreation Center, 1600 Hilliard Road;
- Tuesday, June 18, 9 a.m. at Capital Area Partnership Uplifting People (CAPUP), 1103 Oliver Hill Way;
- Tuesday, July 23, 5:30 p.m. at Henrico Area Mental Health & Developmental Services, 10299 Woodman Road;
- Thursday, Aug. 15, 6 p.m. at the Henrico County Mental Health East Clinic, 3908 Nine Mile Road.
Participation is open to the public and includes a dose of naloxone. To register click here, and make sure to enter “Henrico” as the trainer. For help registering, call (804) 727-8925.
The county has offered this program for roughly three years and has taught hundreds of people the proper way to use Narcan but are looking for more.
There’s currently an open prescription for this medication allowing anyone over the age of 18 to purchase it.
“Many doctors these days are encouraging people to get naloxone if they’re on an opioid pain medicine,” Stephen said. “We’ve had family members want to learn more about it and to have it on hand when they know it’s a struggle for their family member.”
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