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| 2 min read | by Lynne Beauchamp, lbeauchamp@thesuntimesnews.com |

Families Against Narcotics (FAN)-Washtenaw County Chapter presented free Naloxone training and overdose prevention to those interested during a discussion on February 10 at the Morris Lawrence Building at Washtenaw Community College.

The event was also made possible by Washtenaw Community College, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), Community Mental Health Partnership (SE Michigan) and TheRide.

The presentation began with FAN Chapter President, Mario Nanos, explaining that data shows there have been more drug overdoses on the east side of US23 then on the west side, where FAN usually meets. Nanos said it was important to bring Naloxone training to this part of Washtenaw County as suggested by the data.

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He explained what FAN is about and that there are several recovery resources available for those with addictions or those who are recovering-such as yoga for recovery and exercise for recovery as well as grant programs and AAATA bus tokens. Nanos said more and more organizations in the county are becoming certified in Narcan (Naloxone) training and overdose prevention. He then opened the conversation by saying he lost his son over two years ago and asked if anyone in the audience wished to share their story. Some audience members said they lost loved ones to a drug overdose, others were recovering addicts, while some were interested in educating themselves on preventing a fatal drug overdose.

Onboard for the Naloxone training segment were Gina Dahlem, University of Michigan School of Nursing and Lieutenant Lisa King, WCSO.

The two offered valuable information not only on how to use Naloxone for overdose prevention, but how to recognize someone having a drug overdose as well as discussing life-saving measures until emergency crews arrive.

Dahlem also discussed statistics on opioid-related deaths. She said 130 Americans are dying every single day from an opioid overdose and Michigan ranks 14th in the nation for opioid-related deaths. Washtenaw County had also seen an increase in opioid-related deaths. Contributing to opioid-related deaths is the increase in prescription opioids including overuse of fentanyl.

King said the WCSO has also seen an increase in overdose-related cases. She added that Washtenaw County, because of the increase in overdoses, has implemented Naloxone training within the WCSO and courts and is working on getting other entities on board.

“I absolutely wish that everyone in Washtenaw County carried it [Naloxone for help in preventing overdose deaths]” King said to the audience as Naloxone is easy to use.

The duo also described the “Good Samaritan” law that protects those that try to help others during this type of situation, including those who administer Naloxone to someone who is suspected of a drug overdose. They also talked about “the standing order” for Naloxone prescriptions at pharmacies. Also discussed was the safety of using Naloxone, that if mistakenly given to someone having something other than an overdose, giving Naloxone is harmless and the individual is protected from court action if given in good faith.

At the end of the Naloxone training, Nanos reported there were over 200 people that attended the presentation and approximately 150 Naloxone kits were distributed.

For more information on any of the above information, contact FAN at https://www.familiesagainstnarcotics.org/washtenaw .

There are several Big Red Barrel sites throughout Washtenaw County for safely disposing of unwanted medication. Contact your local police department for drop of sites.

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