On Saturday, Feb. 17, at 10 a.m., the East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy Generation Rx Committee, in collaboration with the Sullivan County Anti-Drug Coalition, will provide free opioid overdose training for the community.
The training will be held at the College of Pharmacy, Building No. 7, on the Veterans Administration Campus.
The number of Tennesseans who died from drug overdoses jumped 12 percent from 2015 to 2016, largely due to a growing use of dangerous synthetic opioids. There were at least 1,631 Tennesseans who died in 2016 – up from 1,451 in 2015, according to new figures from the Tennessee Department of Health. However, the number of deaths is likely higher due to inconsistencies in how counties investigate and report deaths.
Naloxone, a prescription medication, is a specific opioid antagonist drug that reverses the effects opioids have in the brain. When a person overdoses on opioids, the opioid overwhelms the receptors in the brain, slowly decreasing respiration before finally stopping it altogether. Naloxone has a very high affinity for these receptors and effectively pushes the opioid off of the brain receptor. This action allows a person to resume respiration.
Naloxone has been used for years by emergency medical technicians and emergency room doctors to reverse overdoses. Outside of this singular purpose, naloxone has no effect on the body, and poses no danger to anyone who administers it to themselves or someone else.
During the training, participants will learn how to identify causes and risk factors for opioid overdose, discuss common myths about overdose reversal, learn why naloxone is now available for intranasal administration in Virginia, and how to provide step-by-step administration of intranasal naloxone in the case of an opioid overdose.
Each participant will be required to register upon arrival, and will receive an intranasal naloxone kit with medication. The training is provided at no cost to participants and will last approximately one hour. For more information, contact ETSU’s Dr. Sarah Melton at 276-971-6097.