Local leaders discuss opioid epidemic at Naloxone training session

: Pictured (from left to right) Denise Wroten, Board Treasurer for the West Chester Business Improvement District; state Senator Carolyn Comitta; Miss Pennsylvania Alysa Bainbridge, Chester County Commissioner’s Chair Marian Moskowitz; and Steve Ross, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs (DDAP).

State Senator Carolyn Comitta was recently joined by state and local officials and business leaders to discuss efforts to address the opioid epidemic and prevent overdose deaths with the use of naloxone.

Following the discussion, about 50 members of the public and employees in the restaurant and hospital industry attended a free training on identifying the sign of overdose and safely administering naloxone.

“The opioid epidemic is a community-wide problem that requires a community-wide solution,” Comitta said. “Naloxone is an important tool to help reverse the effects of an overdose, but for any tool to be effective, we need to know how to safely and properly use it. I am glad to be joined by a coalition of leaders to raise awareness, inform our community about naloxone, and ensure we have the tools necessary to save lives.”

Naloxone is a medication approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by quickly restoring breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped because of an opioid overdose. Naloxone can be administered by individuals with or without medical training to help reduce opioid overdose deaths.

The event was supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association (PRLA), the West Chester Business Improvement District, and Good Fellowship Ambulance and EMS Training Institute.

“As we work to combat the overdose epidemic crisis in the commonwealth, expanding access to naloxone in all regions of Pennsylvania remains a top priority of the Wolf Administration,” said Special Assistant to the DDAP Secretary, Steve Ross. “You never know when you may come across an individual suffering from an overdose. I applaud Senator Comitta for bringing this group together today to raise awareness about the importance of naloxone, and training folks on how to use the life-saving medication.”

Pennsylvanians can access naloxone by:

The event was supported by leaders in Pennsylvania’s restaurant and hospitality industry. In a study looking at substance use, the restaurant industry was the most at risk for illicit drug use with nearly 20% of food services workers reporting using illicit drugs.

Joining the event was recently crowned Miss Pennsylvania, Alysa Bainbridge, a strong advocate for recovery that is raising awareness about opioid use disorder across Pennsylvania.

“I believe the first step toward progress in fighting the opioid crisis is dismantling the stigma that surrounds it,” Bainbridge said. “That’s the work I’m dedicated to as Miss Pennsylvania, and hope to encourage others across the state to do, too. Getting Naloxone in the hands of the community and teaching people how to use it is an important step to end the stigma. It’s easy to believe there’s nothing we, as individuals, can do to solve a crisis as big as the opioid epidemic, but each one of us holds the power to save lives in our hands with this crucial tool.”

Individuals seeking treatment or substance use support for themselves or a loved one can call the toll-free PA Get Help Now helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The free, confidential hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and staffed by trained professionals.

Local support is available through the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Service at 1-866-286-3767. All calls are confidential and support is available for those without insurance.

In addition, if your business or organization is interested in hosting a naloxone training event contact Ethan Healey of Project Naloxone at ehealy@goodfellowship.org

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