An incident last week at the Carroll County Health Department where a person overdosed in the facility’s restroom demonstrated the importance of community members being trained to use and carry naloxone, according to health department staff.
On Wednesday, health department staff members were in the middle of teaching a life skills training class at the department’s facility on Center Street in Westminster when they were told a person had overdosed in the restroom.
“Toward the end of the class there was a commotion because the only bathroom available there was locked and no was answering the door,” Rebecca Rigney, the health department’s harm reduction liaison, said in a Monday news release. “At this time, the staff unlocked the door with a key to find an overdose victim, unresponsive and completely blue in color.”
Rigney and her colleague, Melanie Watson, administered several doses of the opioid reversal medication naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan. Emergency Medical Services technicians then took over care of the individual.
“The person was revived after the overdose and taken to the hospital,” Maggie Kunz, health planner with the health department, said Monday. “We do not have a recent update on their status.”
Carroll County Health Officer Sue Doyle said she was proud of the staff for staying calm during the emergency and taking action.
“Everyone should be trained and carry naloxone — it’s easy, and you never know when you might need it,” Doyle said.
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Rigney and Watson were recognized by Doyle and Deputy Health Officer Dr. Robert Wack for their quick response.
Naloxone is a prescription medication that is “safe and effective” in temporarily reversing an opioid overdose, the news release said. Having it available can help reduce the risk of a fatal overdose.
The medication is administered via nasal spray into an individual’s nose. The Carroll County Health Department offers training on how to use naloxone, as well as naloxone kits for use by residents. Contact the Health Department for information about one-on-one training, group training or workplace training at 410-876-4449.
Naloxone classes are available at Access Carroll, 10 Distillery Drive, in Westminster, at 5:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. Call 410-871-1478 to register.
The Westminster Police Department patrol bureau is trained on naloxone use and has access to naloxone kits to distribute to the community.
For more information on the statewide effort to reduce overdose morbidity and mortality, go to https://beforeitstoolate.maryland.gov.
For more information on naloxone, and training videos, go to https://cchd.maryland.gov/behavioral-health/operation-save-a-life-naloxone-training.