RALEIGH COUNTY, WV. (LOOTPRESS) – The Raleigh County Prevention Coalition is prepared to hand out 1,200 doses of Narcan, a nasal spray used for the treatment of known or suspected opioid overdoses, tomorrow, May 22, during a county-wide Save a Life event.
According to Stephanie French, volunteer director for the coalition’s Blessing Box Project, the event will take place in several locations from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Third Avenue Park in Beckley
- Beckley ARH Southern West Virginia Clinic
- Sophia Volunteer Fire Department
- Beaver Kroger parking lot
- Trap Hill Volunteer Fire Department
During the event, anyone can receive a free Naloxone nasal spray.
“If you are fighting addiction, know someone who is fighting, or know someone who needs it come get it,” French said. “Parents of someone who’s addicted, a friend, a loved one, a neighbor, anyone can get Narcan. Everyone in this community is affected by drugs somehow. We want people to help, but we want them to know what they’re doing and be prepared.”
French says when someone overdoses, those last seconds are crucial, and being in the presence of someone with knowledge on how to administer Narcan could save their life.
All of the volunteers present at Saturday’s event have been properly trained on how to administer Narcan and will be training individuals on how to use the spray properly, as well as how to recognize if someone has recently overdosed or is currently overdosing.
Brian Akers, who has worked as a peer recovery coach with the coalition for the last six months, says there should be close to 60 trained volunteers divided between tomorrow’s handout sites.
There will also be two peer recovery coaches at each site who, having once been addicted to opioids themselves, can help those who are currently struggling with addiction.
“They know what that person is going through. They know, and they can relate to the person sitting across from them and get through to them and hopefully get them in recovery themselves,” French said.
Akers will be stationed at Beckey ARH and is excited to see Raleigh County’s response.
Akers also participated in Fayette County’s Save a Life event on May 1 and said 1,000 doses of Narcan were distributed in six hours. Greenbrier and Kanawha counties have also held successful events, which makes Akers only more hopeful for West Virginia’s fight against the opioid pandemic.
“West Virginia’s overdose rate is out of control,” he said. “Having this medicine could save someone’s life and get them into recovery. This what I try to do, give people treatment as much as I possibly can. Keeping them alive is first and foremost.”
French joined in, stating that they have only seen an increase in overdoses since the start of the pandemic and especially since the distribution of the stimulus checks.
“The true pandemic in West Virginia is the opioid crisis. It has hit really, really hard, especially in southern West Virginia. We just really hope our community is going to rally behind this.”
For more information, visit the Raleigh County Prevention Coalition Facebook page.