Thursday is International Overdose Awareness Day and the opioid epidemic issue is hitting Syracuse hard. One local health organization used the day to point out how overdose reversing drugs can save lives.
If someone overdosed near you, would you be able to save them? This hypothetical could easily become a reality. Alexandra Punch of ACR Health says the heroin and opioid epidemic is growing in the Syracuse Community.
“But it’s definitely saving lives. There’s statistics out there showing that it saves lives. EMTs say about 10% of all the calls they receive are overdoses where there administering naloxone. So it’s out there and it’s being used.”
You don’t have to be a medical professional to make an impact. ACR Health offers Narcan and naloxone training so members of the community can be ready at any time.
“Anyone can get trained in naloxone. During that training we talk to them about signs of an overdose because you never know when you’re going to run across somebody that’s overdosing. It can happen in a parking lot; it can happen in a bathroom. So being educated on what that looks like is incredibly important.”
Director of Narcan Training Julia LaVere explains that there are two types of naloxone, one that can be inhaled by the overdose victim and one that’s can be administered through clothing with a syringe. She says having the kit on you is vital.
“We teach people that they should have their kit on them but we also give tidbits on, they shouldn’t be out in the cold. It is liquid; it will freeze. If you have a reasons to carry a naloxone kit, you should have it on you at all times.”
ACR Health also offers a Syringe Exchange Program to reduce transmission of disease for those who are using drugs.
“We have a harm-reduction philosophy. So we don’t deny that drug use is a problem. People are using illicit drugs. We meet people where there at. So through syringe exchange, we give them clean needles to use, however we always have the conversation, ‘are you ready for more at this point.’ If they’re not ready, we’re not pushing it. But once they say they’re ready, we have specialist that will get them into treatment as soon as possible.”
A-C-R Health offers free Narcan and naloxone training to the public every other Tuesday. More information about naloxone training or needle exchange is at ACRHealth.org.