The Cayuga County HEALing Communities study group will be holding a series of Narcan events this month in Auburn, starting with one Tuesday.
The group announced in a press release that Narcan instruction and distribution events will be held in Auburn at these times and locations, with COVID-19 precautions in effect (masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer):
• May 4: 1 to 5 p.m. at the Rescue Mission/Melone Village, 51 Merriman St., Auburn;
• May 19: 1 to 5 p.m. at Brogan Manor, 37 Olympia Ave., Auburn;
• May 25: 1 to 5 pm at Oak Creek Townhomes, 101 Quill Ave., Auburn.
These programs and other efforts are part of a partnership with the HEALing Communities team, Rescue Mission, Auburn Housing Authority and Home Leasing LLC, along with longtime partners from the Cayuga County Mental Health Center, Nick’s Ride 4 Friends and Drug Free Community Coalition.
Narcan is a nasal spray that can reverse adverse health effects of an opioid overdose and save a person's life. The HEALing Communities group has been working to get more Narcan kits distributed in the community and to educate the public about how to use them. In 2020, the group held seven events at overdose "hotspots" and distributed 218 Narcan kits. It said overdoses witnesses from those efforts saved 29 lives.
According to the news release, nearly 100 overdoses have been reported in Cayuga County already in 2021, and six people have died.
"Anyone can and should administer this nasal spray if they suspect any type of overdose," the news release said "If no opioids were involved, Narcan will not harm the person, it just won’t have any effect."
HEALing Communities said Narcan has become even more important recently because of a trend in which many substances are being mixed with highly dangerous fentanyl, "often without the user’s knowledge."
Narcan reduces the effect of fentanyl but because of that drug's strength, "it may require multiple doses of Narcan to revive a person, which makes it crucial to call 911 when you witness an overdose, even after you started administering Narcan. The Good Samaritan Law protects you when you call 911 when you see or experience a drug overdose."
Cayuga County residents also can have free Narcan kits mailed to their home, including replenishment kits. Those can be ordered at www.cayugacounty.us/narcan.
"We can all be first responders by carrying and administering Narcan and give people suffering from opioid use disorder another chance to seek help and start their recovery journey," the news release said. "It could be a family member, friend, or co-worker. Remember, the only thing you cannot recover from is death."