“For many people, this medication is the difference between life and death. Everyone deserves a second chance, and this medication ensures they get one.”
The Oaklawn Foundation will purchase 300 life-saving doses of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, for free distribution to community and family members working with people at-risk.
The Board of Directors voted at its November meeting to grant $10,500 to Oaklawn’s Addictions Department, who will distribute the medication at free trainings throughout the year.
The Addictions Department has provided similar trainings, with naloxone provided by another local nonprofit that will be closing its doors.
“The educational piece of these trainings was what kept them in such high demand,” said John Horsley, director of Oaklawn’s Addictions Services. While naloxone is available from some local pharmacies and the health department, they don’t provide training. Oaklawn’s training delivers information about opioids, how addiction affects the brain, symptoms of an overdose, what to do and not do in the event of an overdose and how to administer naloxone. “The most common response from people attending the trainings is, ‘I didn’t understand addiction as a disease, and I didn’t understand its effects on the brain.’ ”
When a person uses opioids, the drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain. Naloxone can reverse and block the effects of the opioids in the event of an overdose. That makes naloxone a life-saver not only to those in active addiction, but also for people who may relapse after a period of recovery. When someone’s actively using opioids, they build up a tolerance and usually end up taking more and more of the drug. After a period of recovery, that tolerance is gone, and even a far smaller dose can be lethal.
“For many people in our community, many of our own clients, this medication is the difference between life and death,” said Matt Lentsch, executive director of the Foundation. “For some, it’s the turning point that leads them to treatment and recovery. Everyone deserves a second chance, and this medication ensures they get one.”