Identifying, reversing an opioid overdose
Overdose prevention training, courtesy of Sonoran Prevention Works, comes to Kingman
KINGMAN – Often times it’s first responders alone who have the education and resources necessary to save a life, but when it comes to overdose prevention, there are tools and trainings the community can utilize that could mean the difference between life and death for a stranger or even a loved one.
One of those potentially life-saving trainings, to be taught by Sonoran Prevention Works Northern Arizona Overdose Prevention Coordinator Courteney Wettemann, will be at Mohave Community College on Wednesday. Sonoran is the largest distributor of naloxone, used for reversing opioid overdoses, in the state.
She said the information to be presented Wednesday is important for anyone and everyone because one never knows who will need it, from strangers to neighbors or even loved ones.
“We just think that everyone deserves to have this kind of life-saving knowledge,” Wettemann said. “We know it can be sort of inaccessible, maybe some people just don’t know about it because it is a newer thing for a lot of communities. It’s really cool because we can give this medication away completely free.”
She wants the Kingman community to be “as prepared as possible” to combat an overdose in light of the opioid epidemic.
Dusti Yamaguchi is the coordinator of the Kingman Harm Reduction Program through SPW. She says the overdose prevention training set for 5 –7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the MCC Neal campus, 1971 Jagerson Ave., in room 1103 is free to the public and will provide information graspable for all walks of life. Yamaguchi has taken the training before and said the information was easy to remember and delivered clearly.
“They’ll cover how to recognize an overdose, how to treat the overdose, how to use the Narcan and ways to avoid overdose,” Yamaguchi said of Wednesday’s training. “It’s a really clear training as far as there’s good visuals and clear explanations, there’s an opportunity to ask questions if you’re not sure about something.”
Sonoran does all it can to educate Arizona on overdose prevention, which is why its representatives make stops in communities like Kingman.
“We have a lot of people who are at risk for an overdose, a lot of family members who have someone they love that are at risk for an overdose,” Yamaguchi said. “Just getting these tools into the community where they’re needed, it’s going to help save lives.”
She noted it’s important to remember that those who use drugs are just as deserving of a second chance as anyone else. She added that for a lot of people, an overdose is a turning point in their lives. However, if they aren’t saved from the overdose, they won’t have the opportunity to make positive changes. Showing love and care is also a way to start a dialogue, she said, which opens the door to numerous resources that can assist the drug user.
“If we’re there saying ‘Hey we love you and we don’t want you to die, here’s a kit, stay alive and breathing,’ it creates a space for dialogue,” Yamaguchi said. “They’re going to be able to come talk to you when they’re ready to seek help.”
The training is free to the public and no preregistration is required. Should someone be out and about and come across an individual overdosing, they’ll be able to assist until first responders arrive.
“It gives people peace of mind and helps empower them to know what they are looking for as far as if they might need to use a kit to save a life,” Yamaguchi said. “Being able to identify an overdose and just having a plan in place is really helpful for people. ‘I actually know what this looks like and I know what to do.’”