YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) -Mahoning County residents will soon have access to a life-saving drug, used to reverse the effects of opioid and heroin overdoses.
The Mahoning County District Board of Health will begin distributing Naloxone (also known as Narcan) to individuals who are at-risk or who know someone who may be at-risk of an opioid overdose. The health department has access to the drug through its participation in Project DAWN, an opioid overdose education and Narcan distribution program designed in response to the growing heroin epidemic.
Project DAWN Narcan kits will be distributed by appointment only, according to the health department. Program participants must first receive education on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, how to respond to an overdose by calling 9-1-1 and how to give rescue breaths and administer Narcan as a nasal spray. At the conclusion of the 45-minute education session, participants are given a free kit containing two doses of Narcan.
Police and rescue crews in Mahoning County have been using Narcan since the end of 2014, and the drug has been credited with saving the lives of several Valley residents, including a 25-year-old Poland man who was revived by police in April. Rebates and new laws have been enacted this year to increase access to the life-saving drug in an effort to decrease fatalities due to drug use.
According to the health department, Naloxone’s only purpose is to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and breathing in order to prevent death and has no potential for abuse. An opioid includes both prescription painkillers (Percocet, OxyContin, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Morphine, Fentanyl, etc.) and heroin. Naloxone does not reverse overdoses that are caused by non-opioid drugs, such as cocaine, benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanex, Klonopin and Valium), methamphetamines or alcohol.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for Project DAWN, those interested should call 330-270-2855 ext. 125.