January 16, 2020

Overdose Recognition and Response Community Forum a success

By Joe McNerney

Anyone can be an addict, and most of us know someone who is or was. A common fear is what we should do in the event a person might overdose.

CPR and Narcan dispersal are two ways to
save a person's life if they experience a drug overdose
“A lot of people panic. The most important thing people always forget is to call 911. That alone can make the difference in saving someone’s life,” stated Community Health Promotion Specialist, Lizzy Garnatz.

Garnatz was one of the speakers at The Overdose Recognition and Response Community Forum and Training that took place last Tuesday, January 7th at Windham’s Veterans Center.

“When you call 911, we can assist you in CPR as well as Narcan dispersal,” she continued.
Narcan (naloxone) is an opioid antagonist used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose, including respiratory depression.

The emergency operators ask many questions, and they do so for good reason. They are trained and have guides in front of them to assist you, which is why they need as much information as possible. Narcan nasal spray can be used again and should be timed appropriately for emergency services.

Laura Morris, Executive Director of Be the Influence was the host of the training event for Narcan and hands only CPR. The purpose of the forum was to educate the public on ways to help save the life of someone who has overdosed.

“It takes a village.” Laura stated of the collaboration.

Everyone from Windham’s Chief of Police to Portland’s District Attorney sat in attendance for this informative meeting.

“We’ve had a pretty good turnout both times we’ve done this” said Windham Deputy Fire Chief John Kooistra.

Many people seemed to know one another, giving words of encouragement.

Brittany Fearon, Assistant Program Manager/Maine Association of Recovery Residences spoke at the forum regarding her own personal experiences with substance abuse.

Being a resident of Windham for most of her life, Fearon as a young adult struggled with drugs and alcohol. This was something she battled for many years before finding the right path. Fearon stressed that addiction never really goes away. It’s a lifelong battle that takes constant work, made better by people you can rely on. Much of what helped her was finding others with similar experiences.
Anyone interested in learning more about overdose recognition and response should contact Laura Morris at director@betheinfluencewrw.org.

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