The town of Trumbull is taking on opioid overdose prevention by offering a free class for residents, complete with a take-home naloxone -or Narcan- kit.
It’s not difficult to actually use the naloxone in an emergency, but the challenge is breaking the stigma and getting people mentally prepared if they ever have to save someone who is overdosing.
Leigh Goodman is the chief of Trumbull Emergency Management Services, and lead lifesaver in the class that teaches people how to how to use naloxone and understand addiction.
“We feel that bringing people in to have a conversation, that this is a disease much like you would talk about anyone fighting pneumonia,” said Goodman.
The class is held a few times a year, where people learn how to use the anti-overdose medication and they’ll get two doses of it to keep for emergencies. It’s provided by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“I think people walk away feeling like we’ve reduced the stigma and reduced kind of the shame about it,” said Melissa McGarry, program director for Trumbull Prevention Partnership. The organization has partnered with Trumbull EMS to offer the class to Trumbull residents.
“We said let’s not just give out the Narcan but let’s give people the tools and information to understand addiction,” she added.
The class starts with a discussion about addiction and resources, and then conversations about what an overdose looks like.
“It’s a very hands-on session so we get all the facts out the way,” said Goodman.
Then they shift to lessons on real-life scenarios.
“We take it all the way through,” said Goodman. “We don’t just talk about signs and symptoms and how you would treat it. But what would happen if you were treating it and it didn’t work.”
That’s where the CPR training comes in. Goodman goes over what to do until responders arrive. One resident said he supports the effort at increasing overdose awareness and training.
“I think it’s great. My job has us all CPR and first aid certified so it’s another certification that we could use to help save a life,” said Andrew Bouchahine.
McGarry says casual use of opioids and subsequent overdoses are down, but with the rise of fentanyl and other drugs, this class is critical, and it’s open to anyone.
The overdose training is Tuesday at Trumbull EMS. At the end of class, each person walks away with the knowledge and tools to save a life.
For registration information, visit the Trumbull EMS Facebook page.