MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — On Sept. 8, Monongalia County Quick Response Team (QRT) members will be training and helping folks during Save a Life Day, also called Free Naloxone Day. Also known as Narcan, naloxone is an easy-to-use nasal medication that can reverse an opioid overdose after an affected person has stopped breathing.
The Monongalia County event will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at three McDonald’s restaurants in Westover, Star City and Sabraton; as well as the Westover VFW; the WVU Rec Center; the Mountainlair; Dering-Henson Funeral Home; Milan Puskar HealthRight and the Morgantown Art Party.
Volunteers will be at the HealthRight event until 4 p.m. and the Morgantown Art Party event from 5-7 p.m. There will be, in total, 168 sites all over West Virginia where volunteers will train community members on how to use naloxone and distribute doses.
“The big difference in this Free Naloxone Day is that all 55 counties are partaking for the first time ever,” said Brittany Irick, the Monongalia County QRT coordinator. “In the past, a lot of the counties have participated but we weren’t able to get every single one on board. But thanks to their neighboring counties, they are able to help make this happen.”
Training will occur on location. It should only take 10-15 minutes, said Tory Watring, a member of the Monongalia County QRT and peer recovery support specialist with West Virginia Sober Living.
“It should be in every emergency kit and medicine cabinet,” Watring added. “It’s not just for people who use drugs. Someone’s elderly loved one could mistakenly take too much pain medication and need naloxone. It’s safe for children, the elderly, anyone.”
Last May’s event resulted in 1,620 doses of naloxone being distributed. Irick said she wants this year’s goal to be 2,000 doses.
Naloxone is meant to stabilize an individual suffering an opioid overdose, using more than one dose if necessary, so that 911 has the time to arrive and give the individual further treatment. According to the state Office of Drug Control Policy, fatal overdoses are on a decline thanks in part to the expansion of free naloxone programs.
The West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute will also be providing more than 10,000 fentanyl test strips statewide and at every Monongalia County location.
“Many people overdose because they don’t realize that the drugs they are using have been cut with fentanyl, which is extremely deadly,” Irick said.
COVID-19 vaccines will also be provided at the WVU Mountainlair, Westover McDonald’s and HealthRight events.
The Monongalia County QRT is a group that brings together different organizations to figure out how to lessen opioid misuse in the community. For more information on health and wellness in Monongalia County, visit monchd.org and follow the health department on Facebook and Twitter @WVMCHD and on Instagram at #wvmchd.