When a person goes through an overdose, the response to get the potentially life-saving drug into their system can take precious minutes that may not be fast enough to save a life.
Harm reduction kits from the Sandhills Opioid Response Consortium are now available for families of people with a substance abuse disorder. The kits contain the overdose drug Narcan, also called naloxone, which can save valuable time in the event of an overdose.
“One of the overarching goals of working in opioid abuse disorder and drug use is harm reduction,” said Roxanne Elliott, project leader for FirstHealth Community Health Services. “This is Narcan, a harm reduction strategy.”
FirstHealth Community Health Services includes the Sandhills Opioid Response Consortium, made up of representatives from Moore, Montgomery, Lee, Richmond, and Hoke counties and funded by the Federal Rural Health Policy Office. The consortium received a $ 600,000 grant in 2018, which is now in its third year of implementation and includes harm reduction kits.
The kits contain two doses of nasal Narcan, which is administered like a nasal spray in the event of an overdose. Additional instructions in the kits include information about the signs and symptoms of an overdose and a phone number for an emergency response team. The kits also contain information on how to contact the consortium for special peer support programs for drug addicts.
“Hopefully when someone resuscitates you, they’ll consider whether or not this will be their final overdose and seek treatment and recovery resources,” Elliott said. “When people overdose we have an opportunity to discuss with them to see where they are on the continuum of seeking help.”
Narcan is used by many first responders when they respond to an overdose. The Moore County Sheriff’s Office has trained and equipped deputies to administer the drug, and Sheriff Ronnie Fields sees the value in putting it in the hands of families at risk of overdosing.
“I don’t mean to say that I support making possible, but I always support anything that can save someone’s life,” Fields said.
Fields said the Moore County Detention Center has recovery programs and counselors for those detained for drug offenses in hopes of deterring those people from substance abuse if they are released.
Many of these people will be targeted by the Consortium if they are released as their return to the public will be a dangerous time. Elliott said people may have detoxed in the correctional facility and may have returned to using substances they had before they were admitted.
“The highest risk of overdose is two weeks after re-entering a correctional facility,” Elliott said.
The consortium started promoting the program last week and has already received more response than expected from the community.
“This is our first attempt to reach out to the people who interact with us and to support caregivers, families and individuals at risk of overdose,” said Elliott.