by Hannah Guanti
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids are currently the leading cause of drug-related deaths. The CDC certifies that in 2020, opiates were involved in over 68,000 overdose deaths. This issue hit our home of Virginia especially hard. In 2020, the Virginia Department of Health reported that an average of four Virginians died each day due to opioid overdose. This is a serious issue that faces large parts of the country, but there is hope. The FDA approval of nasal naloxone in 2019 was a huge success towards fighting the crisis and minimizing the number of fatal overdoses.
Naloxone is medication that swiftly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. The injectable version has been FDA approved since the seventies and has been effective for medical staff and paramedics treating overdoses. The widespread use of Narcan or other brands of nasal naloxone allows people with minimal training to administer potentially lifesaving medication.
Narcan training and education is much needed in Virginia. Drug overdose has been the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia for almost ten years. In 2021, over seventy five percent of these were tied to fentanyl. Fentanyl overdoses can be treated with Narcan along with any other opioid. It is important that community members and students are aware of this crisis impacting our community.
Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education Training (Revive!) recently came to campus to educate our community on how to be a part of the solution. The program included up-to-date information about narcotics and opiates and tips for members and students to be aware of in the future from Virginia State Police First Sergeant Joe Crowder, as well as information from Behavioral Health Program Manager Christine Wright.
All attendees received opioid overdose and naloxone education training and the first eighty students received free Narcan. If you were unable to attend this program, Narcan (or other brands of nasal naloxone) is sold without a prescription at any Virginia pharmacy. The Virginia Health Department also hosts monthly Revive! training and education in person and virtually.
For More Information About Revive! training, visit the Virginia Department of Health website: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/roanoke/revive-opioid-overdose-and-naloxone-education/
For more information about naloxone, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse website: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/naloxone