Would you know what to do if you came across someone who overdosed on opioids? Community members learned when and how to give the reversal drug Naloxone.
New Cumberland had the second highest number of overdose deaths in Cumberland County in 2017, so elected officials and community leaders are working together to teach residents how to save lives.
“I should be dead, and I’m not because of Naloxone,” said Angela Cook, who organized the training. “Not only once, but twice in the same week.”
Cook knows first hand how the opioid reversal medication, also known under the brand name Narcan, saves lives.
“Because of living life in recovery, I get to do some amazing things,” said Cook.
The mom now works at Medard’s House and is fighting the opioid epidemic.
The CDC says that in 2016, more than 4,500 people in Pennsylvania died from a drug overdose.
“I just know that they’re worth it,” Cook said.
The New Cumberland mayor and the West Shore Faith-Based Coalition teamed up at Medard’s House to teach people when and how to administer the Narcan spray kit.
New Cumberland Fire Deputy Chief Ed Erlsten says education about addiction and overdoses is key.
“Any kind of training that they can do like this is a benefit to everybody,” said Erlsten.
First responders, pharmacists and teachers were among those at Sunday’s training. Organizers are encouraging anyone, and especially people with loved ones who have addictions, to be prepared.
You can find a standing order prescription for Naloxone on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.
“They take it to their pharmacy, and the pharmacy should fill it,” said Carrie Lapp, the co-chair of Project Lazarus Faith-Based Community Outreach.
As for Cook, she says she hasn’t taken a drug in 10 years.
“We all know basic first aid. We know CPR,” said Cook. “I believe that we need to put this into our tool kit and learn how to respond to overdoses.”
Cook says community members should be on the lookout for more overdose reversal training sessions in the next few months.