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Home > Topics > Medical / Clinical
October 11, 2012

Ohio program trains civilians to administer overdose antidote

Trainees learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdoes and how to properly adminster Naloxone

By Wayne Allen
Portsmouth Daily Times

Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) has been credited with saving it’s first life.

The Portsmouth City Health Department was chosen by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to be Ohio’s first Community-Based Naloxone Overdose Reversal Project. Project DAWN started in April.

The program is funded with $40,000 in seed money from the ODH and administered by the Portsmouth City Health Department.

According to the Federal Drug Administration, Naloxone is a synthetic drug, similar to morphine, that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system.

Participants of the program will be trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose and able to distinguish between types of overdoes. Participants will also learn how to properly administer Naloxone.

Lisa Roberts with the Portsmouth City Health Department explained, when the life was saved, “a couple of people just happened upon a person who was unconscious in an alley. They recognized there was something bad going on with the guy. He was breathing, they used Naloxone. Because he was breathing they stayed with him until the ambulance arrived.”

She said the incident occurred within the last month and, as a result, the person survived.

“This is a good thing for Scioto County because we get to be the leader and set the stage for what the rest of the state does,” said Lisa Roberts. “We were asked to do this and they (ODH officials) will be providing funding. We will be setting the stage and establishing a program that has the potential to be replicated throughout the state.”

She said similar programs are being established in Cincinnati and Cleveland based on the program started at the Portsmouth City Health Department.

She said there are about 60 people currently in the program with room to grow.

“We’ve tied this in with some of our other programs. We have collaborated with some of the treatment programs to have their clients come in here and get these. We also have some of our participants in the syringe exchange program who are predominantly opiate addicted,” Roberts said.

Roberts believes the first sign of the programs success was peoples willingness to participate.

“Other people have told me they’ve seen my clients in drug use situations with their first aid overdose kit on them, it’s becoming part of their lives, so that’s a good sign,” Roberts said. “Knowing these are the people are going to be in high risk situations, they need to be first responders. I tell all of them it can take 20 minutes for an ambulance to get some places and that’s just to long to wait.”

She said in Ohio there are efforts underway with the Ohio Attorney Generals Office, Ohio Department of Health and others to move towards what other communities in other states are doing with similar programs.

“Some communities are passing good Samaritan laws, for people who respond to an overdose. The law would state they can’t be prosecuted for helping someone in that situation,” Roberts said.

Roberts said one of the goals of the Project DAWN program was to get people not to be reluctant to call an ambulance and get a person held if they are in a bad situation.

“Sometimes people are in the company of drug activity and are reluctant to call the ambulance or the law,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the health department has been working with the state medical board of Ohio to establish policies and procedures for the program.

Roberts said the Portsmouth Health Department was asked to name the program, since it was the first site. The program is named after Leslie Dawn Cooper, the daughter of Barbara Howard. Cooper lost her life to prescription drug overdose.

For more information call Roberts at 740-353-5153 or visit www.healthyohioprogram.org/vipp/drug/ProjectDAWN.aspx

Republished with permission from the Portsmouth Daily Times

Comments
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Robert L. Broome Robert L. Broome Thursday, October 11, 2012 11:14:09 PM Why in God's name would anyone allow narcan/naloxone to be administered by civilians? It makes no sense to me. If your overdosing it's your own fault. Deal wtih the consequeces.
Steve Jacobi Steve Jacobi Friday, October 12, 2012 8:15:49 AM Some in EMS just have no training for understanding the magnitude of addiction. You gotta wonder why some even are in EMS if they can not understand how health care systems must deal with problems where there are not enough definitive programs to beat addiction.
Zoey Bear Tur Zoey Bear Tur Friday, October 12, 2012 11:32:38 AM Narcan? Because it saves lives. The stats prove this, despite the rare secondary complication that can be treated in hospital. Given your comment, "It's your own fault..Deal with the consequences." you should look at another line of work. Hating your patients isn't a good way to start your EMS career. I'm sure you're young and idealist. But, as you age, and see more of life, you'll become more empathetic to those that aren't as fortunate as you. Life beats you down, especially when you, yourself become injured, ill, or worse. The best trait for a EMT, Paramedic, or Physician, is compassion-A prescription you should have filled before your next shift.
Zoey Bear Tur Zoey Bear Tur Friday, October 12, 2012 11:33:15 AM Narcan? Because it saves lives. The stats prove this, despite the rare secondary complication that can be treated in hospital. Given your comment, "It's your own fault..Deal with the consequences." you should look at another line of work. Hating your patients isn't a good way to start your EMS career. I'm sure you're young and idealist. But, as you age, and see more of life, you'll become more empathetic to those that aren't as fortunate as you. Life beats you down, especially when you, yourself become injured, ill, or worse. The best trait for a EMT, Paramedic, or Physician, is compassion-A prescription you should have filled before your next shift.
Kenneth G. Hall Kenneth G. Hall Friday, October 12, 2012 12:39:32 PM So you would be empathetic to those that do harm to themselves? Why? I don't because most overdoses around here are intentional. That to me means it's your own fault and you should have to deal with the results of your actions. Are some overdoses by mistake that i can understand but to do in intentionally I have no pitty for you. It is sad that its come to giving civilians Narcan/naloxone to combat a self inflicted problem. Remember Robert Tur that everybody is allowed to voice their own thoughts on this. They should not be personally insulted by you because they don't agree with your thoughts. Just because someone in ems doesn't not agree with a Patient's actions doesn't mean the patient is not going to get the same level of care as some one else. So maybe YOU should get out of the business since you seem to have the GOD complex Going on. Have a Nice Day.
Melinda Teaster Williams Melinda Teaster Williams Saturday, October 13, 2012 7:07:48 AM its about time, is all I can say.
Patrick Dillon Patrick Dillon Saturday, October 13, 2012 9:29:46 AM @Robert Broome... I understand where you're coming from, but you might need to rethink your opinion here. It might be that Narcan in your area is delivered by syringe/needle... but in increasing protocol areas it is being delivered via an intra-nasal device and used by EMT-Bs such as yourself. As for the Naloxone (Narcan) itself it is mostly benign in it's side effects. Civilian administration? Well there is a risk to the public that they don't really understand, but they will find that out. I just hope no one gets killed before they do.
Elizabeth Miller Elizabeth Miller Saturday, October 13, 2012 10:55:18 AM Most emergency situations people find themselves in are their own fault, whether it's the smoking COPD patient or the idiot driver wrapped around a tree. Judging patients for their bad decisions WILL affect your care eventually, even if you're not aware of it. Assuming that certain people are not worthy of your care and compassion is arrogant at best.
Robert L. Broome Robert L. Broome Saturday, October 13, 2012 11:56:50 AM I apologize but I've been in EMS for awhile. Stats may prove the logic behind it. It just doesn't sit well with me.

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