Health commissioner’s contract renewed
Logan County District Board of Health members had the opportunity at their Wednesday afternoon meeting to be versed in a potentially life-saving training that also has been presented to approximately 60 county residents so far this year.
Logan County Health District public health nurse Ashley Kunkel presented the program about naloxone, known by its trade name Narcan, which can help to reverse the effects of opioids when given to a patient who has overdosed.
An empty cartridge of Narcan nasal spray was made available to attendees at the Logan County District Board of Health meeting Wednesday. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)
She walked the board members through how to recognize the signs of an overdose and then demonstrated the several simple steps needed to apply the nasal spray form of naloxone to an overdose patient.
“Once the Narcan is administered, call 911 right away, and then begin rescue breathing with a face shield, if that’s something you’re comfortable with,” she said. “Another dose of Narcan can be given in another two to three minutes if the first dose is not effective.”
Kunkel, a registered nurse who previously worked as a surgical nurse at Mary Rutan Hospital prior to her hire at the health district last fall, said she personally researched this topic and then developed the Narcan training, complete with informational slides and videos.
Four Narcan training sessions have already been offered at the health district through a joint venture with the Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties.
Additional sessions are slated for 1 to 1:30 p.m. March 14 and March 25, at the health district, 310 S. Main St. Kunkel also provides private tutorials about naloxone at other requested times.
Specific grant funding from the MDHAS, which at Wednesday’s board meeting was approved for an increase of $3,520 (for a total of $5,000), assists with the program, including the opportunity to supply free naloxone for participants age 18 and older who provide a photo ID. Although Narcan is now available at some local pharmacies without a prescription, the typical cost is approximately $130, officials noted.
One of the most important aspects of the training is the chance to refer participants to treatment resources and support groups for families, Kunkel said.
“Narcan is a way that we’re able to save lives, but it is just a Band-Aid,” she said. “With this program, we’re able to get people in here who are struggling and get them help, and provide support information to families of addicts."
A PowerPoint slide in the training presented by Logan County Health District nurse Ashley Kunkel explains how Narcan reverses the effects of an opiod overdose.
She also related that other community members, such as business owners, also have attended the trainings. To register, call 651-6901 by the Thursday prior to the session.
Also during the meeting, members issued a one-year contract to Logan County Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott, who has served in the role since 2000. The contract is effective April 1, and was unanimously approved by the board following a 25-minute executive session.
Read complete story in Thursday's Examiner.
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