BEND, OR -- As the opioid epidemic spreads, there is a push to train more people to use Naloxone, the drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and is already available to local first responders. Julia Pinsky, Executive Director of Medford-based Max's Mission, says the Surgeon General recently endorsed the idea of average people carrying Naloxone, "Family and people who use, and neighbors and community members should be carrying Naloxone because there is a huge amount of people out there on prescription opioids, as well as illicit opioids. There’s no community in Oregon that is safe, really; that can be excluded from the opioid epidemic."
DCSO Using Drug To Reverse OD Effects
Pinsky works with health officials and law enforcement to organize free community trainings, and two will be held in Central Oregon on Thursday, "It’s very easy to train; seriously. Yes, it’s a big issue because you are bringing someone back to life and it’s an emergency situation. But, as adult human beings, we’re used to dealing with those fairly regularly. And, using Naloxone, especially the nasal form, is really very, very easy." She adds that providing a dose of Naloxone should always be done in conjunction with calling 911.
Pinsky lost her son to a heroin overdose in 2013 and formed Max's Mission 18 months ago to help other families learn how to prevent a similar tragedy. She says they lived in a rural area, which delayed the arrival of first responders. Pinsky believes she could have helped her son had she known about Naloxone and had it available when he OD'd. However, she tells KBND News trainings aren't just for those who know an addict, "Many older people overdose accidentally. They forget that they took their prescription in the morning and they go out and garden and then they’re in pain in the afternoon, and then they take something else. We try to cover all eventualities."
The first local training takes place Thursday at Sahalee Park in Madras, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Pinsky says it's an informal "pop-up" event where people can learn about the symptoms of an overdose, the Good Samaritan Law, how to use Naloxone and get a starter kit, "We want to educate people on how they can access it locally, but they also want to give it to people who turn up, so they can go away with some in their hands." Thursday evening, a more structured event will be held in Bend, at the Deschutes County Services building (1300 NW Wall St), 6:30-8 p.m. The events were made possible through a partnership with the Central Oregon Health Council and Bend Treatment Center.