New York, NY – As a columnist, this one is very personal to me. Substance abuse is an uncomfortable topic. But drug overdoses are on the rise. Reports show that in the last 12 months alone overdoses have claimed the lives of more than 93,000 people nationwide. The opiate epidemic is nothing new — and neither are the efforts to stop the overdoses, spread awareness, educate our communities and offer training.
Teaching the proper way to administer Naloxone is an area of training that is most helpful. Naloxone nasal spray is an emergency medication that helps reverse the potentially deadly effects of an opioid overdose. Classes are simple, quick and informative. During the class, students learn how the medication acts as an antagonist to the opiate receptor, binding to the receptors and reversing or blocking the effects of opioids. Once administered, this can rapidly reverse the effects of the drug and restore normal respiration.
As both a trainer and someone who is trained to administer this medication, some of the questions I have heard are simple and easy to answer. What if I make a mistake? What if I administered the medication to someone who was only drunk and unresponsive? Is there any harm? Does this medication work on other drug overdoses aside from opiates?
There are answers to all of these questions; but first, it is important to understand that administering Naloxone [or Narcan] is not difficult. Those who administer the drug out of precaution are protected by The Good Samaritan Law. By definition, and according to the Civil Liberty Act, a “Good Samaritan is a person who decides to act in good faith by assisting a person who is injured or at risk.”
Training is, in deed, simple — and for those who are affected by, living with, or connected to someone with a substance abuse disorder — this training could literally mean the difference between life and death.
It is important to understand that there is no common face when it comes to substance abuse disorders. More accurately, there is only a common problem. As a specialist and a person in longterm recovery, I have been deployed to hospitals as a member of overdose reversal programs. I was sent to act and assist with recovery and treatment options. I have seen eyes open after an overdose. I have seen people of all ages and from different backgrounds. I have seen children returned to their parents alive. Sadly, I have also seen what happens when the reversal medication was delivered too late.
Rather than take this from me, I invite you to learn more about this training for yourself. Get the facts and be part of the solution. I say again, this one is personal to me. As a person on the front lines, I have watched too many people die an avoidable death. This is why I choose to fight back — I hope that you feel the same way too.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about Naloxone and how to receive a free kit, please click on the link below and learn how to save a life.
Ben Kimmel is a proud member of the IUOE Local 94, as well as an Author, Writer on thewrittenaddiction.com, Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Well-being and DEI Content Provider, Certified Addiction and Recovery Coach, Certified Professional Life Coach, and Peer & Wellness Advocate. Ben can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org