Narcan training available

Published 7:45 pm Friday, June 9, 2017

The Western Tidewater Community Services Board has been offering training to members of the community in how to use an antidote to opioid drugs and medications.

Mariah Ayala, a registered nurse who is a community health nurse with the Virginia Department of Health, practices using a nasal spray opioid antidote during a training on May 12. Behind her is Anderson Wright, a prevention specialist with the Western Tidewater Community Services Board.

Teko Wynder, a prevention specialist with the community services board, said about 100 members of the general public have been trained so far in the use of naloxone, or Narcan. This is aside from the large number of training seminars he has done for health care professionals and law enforcement.

The drug immediately reverses the effects of an overdose of heroin or other opiates, which can be fatal.


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Naloxone comes in several forms. The cheapest and easiest to use is a nasal spray. Wynder said the user has only to deliver one squirt up each nostril.

“The person should come around,” Wynder said. “If they don’t, you repeat the process.”

Wynder said anyone is welcome at the classes, which are generally held at 9:45 a.m. on the third Thursday of the month and last about an hour and a half. To register, call 942-1970.

It’s especially important for those with a family member or friend who uses the drug, Wynder said.

“Anybody that has a loved one that may be using drugs would be wise to carry it,” he said.

The training teaches not only how to use the nasal spray but also how to recognize the signs of an opiate overdose.

“I think the most important thing they learn is they can tell if the person is really high or is the person at an overdose stage,” Wynder said. “If the person is unresponsive, no movement, very shallow breathing, that’s when you should dial 911 and give the Narcan.”

After completing the training, Wynder said, each person will receive a card they can take to a pharmacy and receive naloxone. There is a standing statewide prescription for the drug, and it is often free, Wynder said.

Of course, it is best to seek help for those who are addicted and educate them to prevent them from becoming addicted in the first place. The community services board is working on those fronts, too.

It has held screenings of a documentary called “Chasing the Dragon,” which shows how a simple prescription for pain medication can lead down the path to heroin addiction.

“What happens when the person runs out of pain medication and their body is asking for something?” Wynder said. “That’s when they go down that dark road. Education is the best prevention — knowing you shouldn’t play around with pain medication or any type of opiates.”

But in the meantime, it’s comforting knowing that naloxone is available to help people who are addicted live to fight another day and perhaps kick the drugs for good.