Somerset Health Dept. Offers Free Opioid Overdose Reversal Train - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Somerset Health Dept. Offers Free Opioid Overdose Reversal Training

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CRISFIELD, Md. -- Maryland health officials are offering free training sessions on how to reverse an opioid overdose.

The Somerset County Health Department, in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is offering Narcan training to individuals most able to assist someone at risk of dying from an opioid overdose when emergency medical services are not immediately available.

Naloxene, marketed under the trade name Narcan®, is a life-saving medication that can quickly restore the breathing of a person who has overdosed on heroin or prescription opioid pain medication like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl or methadone.

Individuals most likely to take advantage of the Narcan training are family members, friends and associates of opioid users as well as qualified representatives from treatment programs, transitional housing staff and law enforcement officers.

Narcan training is one component of Somerset County Health Department's Overdose Response Program.

In 2014, the health department administered Narcan training to 100 people with three overdose reversals reported. In the same year, six overdose deaths were confirmed in Somerset County.

The hour long training includes a core curriculum that includes information about prescription and non-pharmaceutical opioids and recognizing the signs and symptoms of a drug overdose. The training also informs participants how to properly respond to an overdose incident.

Director of Behavioral Health for the department, Matey Barker says anyone could make a difference in saving someone's life with the Narcan program training.

Barker explains what comes inside the small blue pouch containing the reversal drugs.

"They will have two doses of the medication they will have some gloves if they want some protection, they will also have a face mask that they can utilize for rescue breathing and they will have the nasal applicators," said Barker.

No needles are required to administer the Narcan.

Simple directions on how to use the nasal syringe make it easy for anyone to help reverse an opioid overdose.

With the Narcan training certificate, any card holder can go to a Maryland pharmacy for a prescription refill of the reversal drug.

But for the completed kit, participants must return to the Somerset health department.

Helen Darmetka says her line of work with the health department brought her to the training session Wednesday night.

Once during a home visit, Darmetka encountered someone experiencing an overdose.

"I think most of us know somebody who uses drugs, you know there's a lot of connection," said Darmetka.

For Tom Hunter, who also attended Wednesday night's training, heroin abuse hits closer to home.

"This is too late for my cousin but maybe not for somebody else," Hunter said.

"This is something I hope I'll never have to use but if anybody in my neighborhood or anybody that knows me needs help, I want to be able to help them," he said.

Narcan trainings are being offered to the first 25 people registered. Call 443-523-1790 to reserve a space.

The next training sessions will be held on the following dates and times at the Somerset County Health Department located at 8928 Sign Post Road Westover, Maryland 21871:

· May 20, 5:30pm

· June 17, 5:30pm

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