Four out of the 25 towns most affected by opioid overdose in the country are in Texas.
By Sergio Medina
Presenters from the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative demonstrated how to administer naloxone to opioid overdose victims via syringe, nasal spray and injector at an opioid overdose prevention workshop April 13.
Co-founder Charles Thibodeaux and paramedic Daniel Sledge spoke to an audience of 35 students, primarily from the social work and human services programs, in the nursing complex.
Sledge used a dummy to demonstrate techniques to administer naloxone.
A non-addictive “opioid antagonist,” naloxone blocks opioids’ breathing repression effect on the body, Sledge said.
He also demonstrated how to position overdose victims on the floor, which involves setting them on their side to avoid potential asphyxiation by vomiting.
In an interview after the event, Sledge said it is important students understand opioid substance abuse.
“We need to have everybody educated so that they can advocate and know how to respond to an overdose and potentially save somebody’s life,” he said.
“Overdose is pervasive throughout any community. It doesn’t know any boundaries of class, race, gender, religion or anything like that.”
Thibodeaux said opioids are highly addictive and are sought after for pain relief and euphoria.
Per the National Institute on Drug Abuse website, 115 people die daily from opioid overdose in the United States.
He said an overdose from opioids such as heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil can cause breathing to stop, which can lead to death.
Naloxone kits, also known as Narcan rescue kits, were handed out to students at the end of the workshop.
Thibodeaux said naloxone kits can be obtained at pharmacies such as Walgreen’s without a prescription.
Founded in 2013, the initiatives’ efforts are to educate people about opioid overdose effects, prevention, and treatment using naloxone, Thibodeaux said.
“As a result of these efforts, there have been over 600 overdose reversals since 2013,” the website reads.
During the presentation, Thibodeaux said of the 25 towns across the country affect the most by opioid overdose, four are found in Texas.
The four Texas towns are Odessa, Amarillo, Longview and Texarkana.
Thibodeaux said in an interview April 13 that the initiative is funded by $27.4 million Texas Targeted Opioid Response grant provided by Texas Health and Human Services and its substance use subdivision in 2017.
“Eighty percent is going to medication-assisted treatment; the other 20 percent is used for things like these,” he said.
That 20 percent covers providing education and medication to people throughout the state, Thibodeaux said.
He said this college contacted him.
In an email April 17 student success Coordinator Robyn Stassen, who contacted the organization, said she knew about their services.
For more information about the initiative, contact Thibodeaux at firstname.lastname@example.org.