Health departments, pharmacies throughout Conn. host Naloxone trainings to help combat opioid overdoses

(WTNH) — According to the Attorney General, one American dies of an overdose every 11-minutes.

Here in Connecticut, it has taken its toll, but new outreach efforts are taking life saving training to the streets.

The first time Jennifer Murray overdosed, she remembered waking up in the back of an ambulance, but the third time she says she felt at her lowest.

“Just feeling like the pits, lower than low. I had hit my bottom. I had hit my bottom,” Murray said.

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It was a familiar tale, a downward spiral.

“It escalated to drinking hard alcohol, cocaine, sniffing cocaine, crack. From there, crack for quite a few years. [It] turned to Benzo, anti-anxiety meds and from there it was sniffing heroin and graduated with shooting heroin,” she said.

In all three events, paramedics saved her using Naloxone, but many others were not as lucky.

In 2015, there were more than 700 deaths from drug overdoses. Last year alone, there were more than 900 deaths in the state. Connecticut’s death rate is higher than the national average, but now there are trainings throughout the state that hope to teach people how to administer the drug themselves.

The local health departments are offering training sessions, as well as the local pharmacy, where you can walk in.

“I can write them a prescription and then we’ll sit down and review the product, discuss the use of the product, how to recognize an opioid overdose, how to use the product and steps involved,” said pharmacist Ed Funaro, Jr.

Steps for using this life-saving drug, Naloxone, “one does one nostril.”

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The training like this is done at more than 500 pharmacies throughout Connecticut.

“They can’t administer this product themselves so it’s going to be someone in their family or someone else in the environment that has to know how to do it so we really stress that when a patient comes in or whoever I’m training on it, that they pass on that same information to other family members in their house,” said Funaro, Jr.

“You can’t force anybody to have Naloxone, but again, it’s a life-saving drug so you want to make sure it’s readily available,” he continued.

For Jenny, who has been clean for more than three years, knowing trainings like these are increasing only means one thing:

“Hope. It means hope,” she said.

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