Class teaches people how to administer NARCAN

Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 9:15 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A class by Divine Intervention taught how to administer NARCAN.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2020, nearly 75 percent of drug overdoses involved an opioid.

Wayne Wooten, a peer support specialist with Divine Intervention, said when someone is overdosing on opioids, NARCAN can provide a 30 to 90-second window for emergency services to get to that person. Otherwise, they run the risk of asphyxiating or suffocating to death.

The CDC says from 2019 to 2020, opioid-involved deaths increased by 38%. Prescription opioid-involved deaths increased by 17%.

“Nationwide there are 276 to 310 people dying a day nationwide to an overdose. So, Arkansas places number two in the United States,” Wooten said.

The first step to saving someone from an overdose is to know when it’s happening.

“We teach how to look for signs like blue or purple fingernails, labored breathing, nonresponsive. We’ll also teach them how to do a sternum rub, see if they are responsive so we can gauge the level of their overdose,” he said.

Naloxone is a medication that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, by blocking opioid receptor sites and reversing the toxic effects of the overdose. It’s commonly known as NARCAN, and it can be administered in various ways.

“If they see somebody in an overdose, they’ll learn today how to treat that person how to treat that person in an overdose, how to put them into a rescue position, how to call 911, how to administer NARCAN,” he said.

The number of synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, is also contributing to the rise in opioid deaths.

According to the CDC, deaths from synthetic opioids were 18 times more in 2020 than in 2013, putting an even bigger importance on teaching how to administer NARCAN.

Wooten said it was important to teach everyone, because they may not know someone close to them could be suffering from addiction.

“We walk with that person, we advocate for them, we also do training like this so that we can educate the public about what we’re dealing with. We recover out loud so that they don’t have to suffer in silence,” Wooten said.