East Texas area groups offer free Narcan training

East Texas area groups offer free Narcan training
Published: Mar. 27, 2023 at 7:38 PM CDT
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ALTO, Texas (KTRE) - It’s a tool that can save a life. Narcan is a relatively newly available drug used to treat opioid overdoses. The CDC estimates nearly 27,000 lives have been saved by is to far.

The North East Texas Healthcare Taskforce and the Anderson Cherokee Opioid Response Project hosted a free Narcan training at the Booker T. Washington community center.

Participants attended a training seminar to learn how to recognize an opioid overdose and how to administer Narcan.

Alto resident Traci Verdell said is was her first time learning about Narcan.

“EMS can’t be everywhere, doctors can’t be everywhere. It’s like boots on the ground. The more people that know and that have the tools it can help put out the forest fire,” she said.

Narcan is used as a lifesaving medication, administered as a nasal spray, it can reverse an overdose of opioids.

Tyler’s UT Health Science Center lead community health worker Kayla Hopper said Narcan training is vital.

“It’s important to meet the people where they are and bring them information surrounding opioid use disorder and substance use disorder to help break the stigma surrounding that use as well as save lives in the process,” said Hopper.

According to Texas Health and Human Services, since 2017, opioids- like heroin and painkillers have been involved in about 52% of all unintentional overdose deaths.

Nearly 107,000 deaths across the U.S. and it’s estimated over 2,500 occurred in Texas.

East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse region 4 coordinator Mindy Robertson said two main drugs are used in East Texas.

“For our region, methamphetamine is the biggest one and synthetic opioids.”

Narcan will not have an effect on meth users.

Robertson also said rural areas sometimes don’t get the most accurate reporting due to the stigma surrounding drug use.

“You really have to take some of those numbers with a grain a salt knowing that there’s probably more or less at times.”

Paramedics say Narcan can’t hurt if given to someone who has not overdosed. If the situation is not an opioid overdose, it does nothing.

People who use Narcan to try to save someone from an overdose face no liability in Texas.