Table Rock Lake Chamber of Commerce issued the following announcement on Feb. 4.
Faith Community Health has received a donation of 1000 vials of naloxone, which will be distributed throughout the community to loved ones of those misusing opioid medications or using illicit opioids. Often a family member or friend is the first one on the scene to find that an opioid user has overdosed and can use that opportunity to save a life.
The donated medications are valued at about $16,000, according to Dr. Heather Lyons-Burney who oversees the dispensary at Faith Community Health. “As a member of the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, we have been able to get the medications, syringes and needles at no cost. California-based Direct Relief provides us with certain medical resources, such as the naloxone, free of charge,” she says.
Lyons-Burney, who also co-chairs the Taney County Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT), says, “This is the first time naloxone will be available to lay people in the area. First responders and emergency personnel have already been using naloxone for a year or so. We have not had access to this many naloxone kits for the community before.”
According to Matt Farmer, Director of Nursing Critical Care & Emergency Services at Cox Medical Center Branson, naloxone has the ability to reverse the lethal effects of an opioid overdose. “In our Cox Branson Emergency Department, naloxone is one of the first medications we reach for when we recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and it can save someone’s life,” Farmer says. “By providing community members with the training and medication to respond to opioid overdoses, it strengthens our commitment to public safety and health.”
Faith Community Health will not distribute the naloxone kits directly to the public. Instead Lyons-Burney says Faith Community Health has partnered with the Substance Use Initiative and ADAPT to assemble and distribute the naloxone kits. Community education to teach how to use the kits will be a part of the distribution process says Marietta Hagan, a member of both organizations. Hagan, who is the project coordinator for the Stone & Taney Counties Substance Use Initiative, will oversee the education component. “The partnership with Faith Community Health and Direct Relief has provided a valuable resource to our community,” says Hagan. “Saving a person’s life by reversing an opioid overdose allows that person another opportunity to seek treatment, which is the ultimate goal.”
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