Training for Administering Overdose Drug Offered

March 15, 2016


Training to administer naloxone for opioid overdoses is available to first responders through Penn Highlands Healthcare.

Free to attend, the classes are being taught by Penn Highlands through a Rural Opiod Overdose Reversal, or ROOR, grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, or HRSA.

Penn Highlands applied in affiliation with the Clearfield-Jefferson Drug & Alcohol Commission, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Inc as well as area ambulances, emergency management services, fire departments and other agencies.

“This training is available for any interested first responder groups in Elk, Clearfield, Jefferson, Cameron and McKean counties,” Kim Cicon, grant program manager and director of the Emergency Department at Penn Highlands DuBois, said.

“Our goal is train at least 500 first responders with hope to reverse an average of 20-40 deaths due to opioid-related overdose in the region,” she said. To date, 90 responders have been trained. “We would like to exceed that number, if we could.”

The next classes offered are 6-8 p.m. on:
• Monday, March 21, Penn Highlands Elk Education Room;
• Tuesday, March 22, Penn Highlands Brookville Education Room;
• Wednesday, March 23, Penn Highlands DuBois Central Resource Center;
• Wednesday, March 30, PH DuBois Central Resource Center;
• Tuesday, April 5, PH Brookville Education Center.

What is naloxone? Often called by its brand name Narcan, it is a medication that can reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug, such as prescription pain medication or heroin. When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes. Naloxone has been used safely by medical professionals for more than 40 years and has only one function: to reverse the effects of opioids on the brain and respiratory system in order to prevent death.

What does the class teach? Sessions will provide:
• Information about the administration of naloxone;
• A review of first aid for the overdose patient;
• The distribution of naloxone devices;
• Information about Act 139, the state legislation that allows first responders including law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS or other organizations the ability to administer naloxone;
• Local overdose statistics and impacts on communities;
• A data collection tool;
• Web-based training with a completion certificate;
• Support services available from local organizations.

It will also review the fact that family members and friends can access this medication by obtaining a prescription from their family doctor or by using the standing order from the state website - which is a prescription written for the general public, rather than specifically for an individual - issued by Rachel Levine, M.D., PA Physician General. The standing order is kept on file at many pharmacies.

Continuing education time is awarded for pre-hospital personnel attending. Information will also be provided for first responder organizations for help in purchasing naloxone.

To host a class, contact Cicon at 814-375-3769 or e-mail her at [email protected]