Program continues to save lives

By Wayne Allen

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Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) originated in the Portsmouth City Health Department in 2013. Since implementation the project has continued to save lives.

Marissa Wicker, injury prevention coordinator at the Portsmouth Health Department, said they are working to get the message of Project DAWN out into the community. She said they are starting to reach out to businesses and law enforcement agencies within the community for training.

Recently Wicker trained officers of the New Boston Police Department to carry the drug. At the end of the training each officer was equipped with the drug. Since completing the training, one New Boston Police Officer saved someone’s life by administering the drug.

Captain Steve Goins of the New Boston Police Department said the officer received a call of a possible overdose. Once the officer was able to assess the situation, it was determined the individual in question was suffering from an opium overdose.

The officer administered the Naloxone and the person was brought back to life. Goins said once medical professionals arrived at the scene, the individual was transported to the hospital for further treatment.

Wicker said the incident in New Boston was further proof of the program’s effectiveness.

She said with the passage of House Bill 4 individuals once trained can carry Naloxone. Individuals interested in carrying the drug can call the health clinic within the health department at 740-353-8863 to schedule an appointment.

“If you are a person who is at a high risk for overdose, or if you’re a friend or family member who may know someone who’s a high risk, you have access to Naloxone as well,” Wicker said.

The training includes the ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose and the ability to distinguish between types of overdoses. Participants also learn how to properly administer Naloxone.

Wicker said since January Project DAWN has been credited with saving three dozen lives. In 2014 Project DAWN was expanded to 21 counties in Ohio, because of a grant from the Alcohol, Drug, Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS)Board of Southeast Collaborative.

For more information about the program visit Project DAWN on Facebook.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

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