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Narcan training events in Columbia continue

EDITOR'S NOTE: While over-the-counter naloxone has been approved it is not yet available locally.


A series of events meant to show people how to stop an opioid overdose continued Monday.

The Boone County Overdose Response Coalition and the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services held an overdose-awareness event Monday afternoon at Rock Bridge Christian Church.

The event is part of "Save A Life," a series of monthly and free events that feature education and conversation around opioid overdoses and awareness.

"We had a good turn out today, we're pleased with it," Heather Harlan, an organizer of the event that works with the Boone County Health Department said. "We just look to keep building like a snowball more and more at each event."

Harlan said local law enforcement has reported back to her saying that they are experiencing more people with Narcan on hand at the scenes of an overdose.

"We hear from our local law enforcement that they're seeing more and more cases where they see someone, a bystander, already administered naloxone."

The program is centered around the use and education of naloxone, also known by its brand name, Narcan, a drug that can quickly and temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The training Monday was centered around the administration of naloxone and warning signs people can look for if they suspect someone is overdosing.

The monthly seminars are not meant to just give away free Narcan, rather educate people what to do in a situation someone is overdosing.

"If people have the naloxone, they could call 9-1-1 and they'll tell them how to use it," Harlan said. "We're looking to help people feel confident enough to intervene."

Naloxone is an FDA-approved drug that is safe to use even on people who aren't overdosing. Recently, it has become available for over-the-counter purchase due to the simplicity of administration through the nose.

"If they see anyone who is down, check and see if they're breathing," Harlan said. "If they're not breathing, administer the naloxone. It will not hurt them."

Boxes of naloxone now have instructions either in them or on the side of a box so any layperson can give someone a dose while waiting for emergency services to respond.

According to Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services in 2021, there were 1,581 opioid overdoses in Missouri. Non-heroin opioids hold the place of most overdoses, with 446 non-heroin opioid overdoses occurring in the 25-36 age group.

In 2021, there were 34 opioid overdoses recorded in Boone County. In Cole County, there were nine.

If you or someone you know suffers from an opioid addiction, the organization EPIC may be able to help.

EPIC, which stands for engaging patients in care coordination,  is a hospital-initiated substance use program that utilizes peer recovery coaches to connect patients who present to the hospital with a substance use disorder to treatment.

Recovery coaches, many of which lived with, and overcame an addiction, are paired with someone looking for help to be by their side while going through the task of getting sober.

To reach a recovery coach who will provide immediate support, call 1-800-395-2132.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Ethan Heinz


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