Morgan County is one of 17 counties in West Virginia that will mark “Save a Life Day” on Wednesday, September 1 by offering free overdose-reversal kits to the public.
Four sites in the county will provide the kits and training to anyone interested in having naloxone (Narcan) on hand.
Those sites, operating from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., are at:
–Morgan County EMS on Winchester Street in Paw Paw,
–War Memorial Hospital off Fairview Drive in Berkeley Springs,
–CNB Bank at 101 South Washington Street in Berkeley Springs and
–Snyder’s Bible Chapel at 10980 Martinsburg Road, Hedgesville.
Many people have heard of naloxone via one of its brand names, Narcan. Narcan is an easy to use nasal spray with no adverse side effects that works to reverse opioid overdoses. This year is the 50th anniversary since naloxone was approved by the FDA in 1971.
Organizers of the state event report that West Virginia lost 1,349 family members to fatal overdoses last year, the first year the state lost three residents a day, on average.
Participating counties include: Kanawha, Cabell, Berkeley, Monongalia, Logan, Mercer, Ohio, Harrison, Wayne, Marion, McDowell, Jefferson, Putnam, Boone, Wyoming, Morgan, & Wetzel. All 74 locations in these 17 counties will also offer training and education, as well as resources for accessing recovery services.
Together, these counties accounted for two thirds of the state’s fatal drug overdoses from 2020. Organizers plan to distribute over 4,000 naloxone kits (or over 8,000 doses) throughout the course of the day.
Caroline Wilson, who is organizing events in the Eastern Panhandle, said volunteers will have roughly 1,000 Narcan kits to distribute in the three counties.
Family members, friends of people who take opioids for pain, friends of people who use drugs, and anyone who wants to save a life are welcome to get trained to use the overdose reversal drug.
The majority of naloxone for this Save a Life Day will be provided by the WV Office of Drug Control Policy. Local organizations, churches, businesses, and individuals are also sponsoring naloxone kits.
“We’ve had awesome community support for this,” said Wilson. Volunteers include those who work in health care, churches and non-profits.
September 1 is the first day of Recovery Month, Wilson pointed out.
She said giving out Narcan to community members is a way to give those who overdose a chance for recovery in the future.
“The reality is that people are using drugs in this area,” Wilson said. She knows several people who have been revived from an overdose and are now in recovery from drug use disorders.
“You can’t recover if you’re dead,” she said.
Training offered along with the Narcan kit includes how to recognize signs of a drug overdose, how to administer the nasal spray, what to do after giving the Narcan and resources for those who want help in recovery, or in dealing with a loved one’s drug use.