By: Kelly Bondurant, Freelance Writer/Editor for Hire
Earlier this week, community members and leaders gathered at the H. Leslie Perry Memorial Library in Henderson for a Town Hall meeting and to assemble Narcan kits, the treatment used to counteract a life-threatening opioid overdose.
A total of 700 kits, including a dose of the Narcan intranasal spray, were distributed to first responders, health departments, schools and interested community members in Vance and surrounding counties.
According to Elliot Clark, senior community executive with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, the organization is “helping to distribute Narcan kits and get people resources to be able to literally help save lives and encourage people to enter into treatment for opioid dependence.”
Narcan, the only FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone, has been used to combat opioid overdoses, such as from heroin, for decades; however, it was previously available primarily through first responders. With the recent opioid crisis that has swept the nation, and proven especially hard-hitting in Vance County, the availability of the spray is becoming more wide-spread.
“Plenty of law enforcement agents are now carrying Narcan kits in their patrol cars,” said Clark. “They no longer have to wait for EMS to arrive in order to save a life.”
In addition to widely-distributing Narcan to prevent death from an opioid overdose, the local community is also ramping up efforts to promote prevention.
“It’s a community effort – not just one organization, not just first responders, or behavioral health professionals or schools; it’s all of us,” Clark said. “Education and awareness need to be at the forefront.”
According to Clark, County government is taking a very active role in addressing the health crisis. Multiple agencies have previously held, and continue to hold, community forums to discuss the crisis and educate the local area.
Initiatives such as Granville-Vance Public Health’s Project VIBRANT are focused on the opioid epidemic, specifically around the administration of Narcan. The Stepping Up Initiative that involves local law enforcement agents is also addressing the crisis.
“Prevention is hugely important and traditional methods of prevention need to revisited,” said Clark. “We need to start looking at prevention as a holistic health model and make it part of a conversation where even kids are comfortable talking about their mental health and how they are feeling.”
Cardinal Innovations is available by phone 24/7 for crisis support and treatment options. Those facing a crisis situation may call 1-800-939-5911 to speak with a licensed clinician.
(Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is an advertising client of WIZS Radio.)
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