HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Education and training aimed at saving lives. As the nation’s battle with opioids and addiction continues to grow so does the push to combat it. A first of its kind, a seminar in Hartford is helping equip more people with naloxone, the medication that reverses the effects of an overdose.
Mark Jenkins is the founder and CEO of the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition and heads up the naloxone training session.
“When in doubt, use it. Listen. This is about saving lives,” said Jenkins.
The seminar is a joint effort between the GHHRC, the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, the New Britain Pharmacy, and the Northeast Pharmacy Corporation. It was held at Frontier Communications and was open to current and former employees as well as their spouses.
“You could have a coworker who is overdosing here at work so we wanted to make sure folks knew about it, knew how to treat it and what to do if they were ever faced with that situation,” said Rain Marini with Frontier.
Jenkins spent time explaining addiction, opioids, and what happens during an overdose. He then demonstrated how to use the nasal form of naloxone. Everyone participating in the seminar left with a drug overdose kit that includes things like latex gloves, sanitary wipes and face masks as well as two doses of naloxone.
“It’s all about access. It’s all about having many different types of situations where people feel as comfortable as possible to be able to learn as much about saving people’s lives,” said Jonathan Harris, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection.
In Connecticut last year 917 people died from drug overdoses. Hartford led cities and towns with 61 deaths, Bridgeport came in second with 48 and New Haven third with 43.
Commissioner Harris told everyone attending the seminar that they are the first being offered the opportunity to obtain and train to use naloxone in this type of setting but stresses this is just the beginning of the state’s latest effort to solve the drug crisis.
“We hope this is just the first of many, many events so that we again provide access to people, to love ones, to caregivers, that want to be prepared to help their friend, their family member, their neighbor,” said Commissioner Harris.
Another seminar is scheduled for this coming Sunday at 4:30, but that event is already full, and closed to the public.