City schedules seminars dedicated to overdose treatment
“Part of the crowd was trying to tell her how to do it and the other part of the crowd was trying to steal the drugs from the guy that was overdosed,” he added.
The Narcan Administration Training seminar is scheduled for 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. March 30 at the Crestview Community Center. Each seminar is expected to last about 30 minutes and will include Okaloosa County EMS first responders teaching residents how to administer a dose of Narcan, a potentially lifesaving nasal spray medication that can revive someone who has overdosed on opioids.
After each training seminar, the Okaloosa County Health Department will distribute free doses of Narcan to those in attendance.
In addition to teaching people how to administer Narcan, EMS will also discuss some of the side effects that can come from its successful use.
“People think you just shoot it up somebody’s nose and everything’s OK,” Whitten said. “What they don’t know is that the individual could have a violent reaction. You just brought them down from a high where they want to be and they’re angry. My firemen have told me people have gotten violent with them.”
Other side effects can include vomiting or spitting up blood, which is what happened to the person at the Crestview church on Feb. 26 when there was the overdose.
“People aren’t prepared for that,” Whitten said. “You think, I’m going to save the guy’s life. There’s more to it than that.”
Since the incident at the church took place, Whitten has made two recommendations for all places that host sit-in feeding programs for the homeless and people in need.
The first is that every location that hosts a feeding event needs to have a full medical kit in the building, with gloves, masks and Narcan immediately available. Whitten has also recommended each location have at least two people who are able to provide care for someone overdosing, one to administer the Narcan and at least one person who can do crowd control.
Whitten has made educating the public and bringing continued awareness of the opioid epidemic a priority and is working with other communities and organizations to find solutions.
Crestview had 79 overdose calls last year.
Since 2019, there has been a 100% increase in overdose calls and a 150% increase in Narcan usage in Okaloosa County. Narcan is a potentially lifesaving nasal spray medication that can revive someone who has overdosed on opioids.
Nationwide, there were more than 100,000 overdose-related deaths last year, with over 7,800 of them coming from Florida, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In January, the city hosted the first Overdose Summit, which was a partnership between Crestview and the nonprofit Opioid Project.