Town of Wheatland the first, county said

Courtesy of a recent Wisconsin Department of Health Services grant, Narcan has already been used by two agencies to save the lives of people experiencing an opioid overdose, the Kenosha County Division of Health states in a news release.

According to the news release, the first came in the Town of Wheatland, where a volunteer firefighter/paramedic administered the nasal spray while on a rescue call in early June.

Narcan, or naloxone, is an emergency medicine used to reverse overdoses caused by opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone and fentanyl, the news release states.

The Kenosha County Division of Health received the medicine through a $225,000 Prescription Drug Opioid Overdose Prevention grant from the state Department of Health of Services.

The grant that the county received from the state is part of a pool of $11 million in Prescription Drug Opioid Overdose Prevention grants that the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded to 11 states last year.

As part of the grant, public health nurses train authorities on how to administer the drug, which paid off the same day in the Village of Pleasant Prairie last week.

“On the same day Kenosha County public health nurses completed naloxone training with members of the Pleasant Prairie Police Department, officers there scored their first “save,” reviving a man who was experiencing an opioid overdose,” the release states.

Along with the Town of Wheatland and Village of Pleasant Prairie, Twin Lakes police were also trained on Narcan administration.

In Kenosha County and elsewhere, a marked increase in opioid overdose deaths has been attributed to abuse of prescription painkiller medications, as well as heroin.

“Already, we’ve saved lives,” said Amanda Tuura, a public health nurse with the Kenosha County Division of Health who is involved with administering the training. “There’s certainly a need in Kenosha County. We’re very fortunate that we received the grant, and very hopeful we can have continued success.”

The resulting Wisconsin Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose Deaths Prevention Project is a five-year grant that awards $1 million each year to the three highest-need counties. Kenosha County received $225,000 for the first year – an amount that may change in future years if additional counties are added to the program.

Kenosha County’s efforts to battle opioid addiction include the Narcan program, as well as an initiative to offer Vivitrol, a medication that helps to subdue alcohol and opiate cravings, to select defendants in the criminal justice system.

“These programs are saving lives and creating a path to treatment,” said Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser. “The goal is to save lives and to save money, by steering people toward treatment rather than time in our jail.”

The Division of Health will provide short information sessions to high-needs community agencies and organizations that would like to have Narcan available on site.

For more information, contact Tuura at (262) 605-6718.


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