Oneida County Opioid Task Force launches ‘Save a Life’ campaign
To help further combat an increase in drug overdoses, the Oneida County Opioid Task Force will be handing out more naloxone rescue kits in many different public places, such as bars, stores, restaurants, places of worship and more.
The kits are free through the county and will be replaced at no cost after they are used or expired, county officials said.
The new push is being called the “Save a Life” campaign, officials said. Naloxone — often known by the brand name “Narcan” — is a nasal spray that can prevent a fatality when someone is overdosing on an opioid drug, such as heroin or fentanyl. Naloxone is carried by rescue agencies throughout the county, and these kits are already stocked in all county buildings.
“At a time when we are seeing the highest rates of overdoses and overdose deaths across the nation, we need to not only think outside of the box to expand distribution and ease of access to naloxone, but also treat it as a standard emergency tool that should be as readily available as fire extinguishers, AED devices, EpiPens and other common sense items we keep in our first aid kits,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr.
“An overdose can occur at any time or place and can happen with both prescription and illicit opioids. For that reason, I urge all of our local businesses and organizations to lend their support in protecting the health of the public by readily accepting a free overdose rescue kit.”
Officials with the task force and their partner agencies will be handing out kits at community events, hotels and motels, convenience stores, bars, restaurants, libraries, retail stores, places of worship and more. They will also raise awareness about how to recognize the signs of an overdose and how to properly administer the nasal spray.
Naloxone can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose from a prescription opioid, heroin, fentanyl or other drug mixed with opioids, and can restore normal breathing within minutes for a person whose breath has slowed, or even stopped. It can be administered by bystanders, does not require a prescription and is generally safe to use, even if given to someone who is incorrectly identified as experiencing an overdose.
Any business or organization interested in having a free kit can visit the website www.OCOpioidTaskForce.org.
Groups can request the free kit, which contains two nasal spray doses, or they can complete a short online application to receive a 13-inch by 13-inch cabinet to install at their site, which also carries two nasal spray doses.
Individuals interested in carrying naloxone on them or having it at home, can go the OTF website to see a listing of contact information for all local agencies that offer free naloxone and training, including some that can send Narcan via mail. People carrying naloxone should have training to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose, and understand what steps to take. Brief training sessions are available in person, virtually or online.
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