By Chris Laman, Director of Pharmacy and Cancer Care Services
Overdose is becoming more common in our community. In 2017, we worked with the Warrenton Police Department to help them address this issue. Acting along with Warrenton Police Chief Matthew Workman, we made 10 naloxone kits. The kits include Narcan, a nasal spray that officers can use to save a person who has overdosed on opiates.
Prior to using, all WPD staff are required to take a state-approved online video training and receive full training protocol sheets. Clinical oversight is provided by the Clatsop County Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Duncan, and primary medical oversight is provided by our own Dr. Regina Mysliwiec. Dr. Mysliwiec oversees training and reviews any records. She also attended the initial training for the officers.
A couple of weeks ago, the Daily Astorian reported that Warrenton Officer Robert Wirt responded to a drug overdose in late January. He could tell the man was breathing, but barely. Previously, he would have had to wait for the fire department or EMS responders to arrive to administer Narcan. Because of our donation of the kits, Officer Wirt, who was first on the scene, retrieved his and gave the Narcan to the overdose victim himself. After two doses, the man was revived.
This year, the kits we donated in 2017 are going to expire, but we are going to help replace them. This is a worthy investment that has resulted in one life saved so far. Unfortunately, it’s likely there will be more need for the kits in the future. We hope our donation can help preserve lives and be a jump start to help these victims get the help they need.
CMH is involved in addressing the opioid crisis in other ways, as well. With the assistance of CMH Primary Care, Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare provides medication-assisted treatment to treat opioid addiction. In this program, participants join in individual and group therapy, while taking FDA-approved and CMH-prescribed Suboxone to ease withdrawal symptoms.
Like other medical and social service communities across the US, ours is engaged in a mission to improve care for those affected by chronic pain, while also reducing intervention using prescription opiates. CMH has been a contributor to the regional Opioid Summit and continues to be represented on the steering committee and task forces redesigning chronic pain and opioid addiction in our area.
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