Narcan trainings to continue

$30K in local funding to assist with project


A local collaboration has enabled the Logan County Health District to secure $30,000 in additional funding to continue assisting the community in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Logan County District Board of Health members accepted at their Wednesday afternoon meeting a Memorandum of Understanding that will secure grant funding in that amount from the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties. The funds will provide for the purchase of the nasal spray naloxone for upcoming trainings offered for community members.

Naloxone, known by its trade name Narcan, can help to reverse the effects of opioids when given to a patient who has overdosed.

Six Narcan trainings have been offered so far this year by LCHD public health nurse Ashley Kunkel. Additional trainings have been slated for 1 p.m. Thursday April 18, May 16; June 27 and July 11, at the health district, 310 S. Main St.

The educational presentation covers the signs of an opioid overdose, how to administer Narcan, where to obtain Narcan, information on area treatment facilities and support groups for families and addicts.

For those ages 18 and older who attend the presentation and present a photo identification, the grant will provide for the trained individuals to receive the naloxone for free, which typically costs $130 per dose and is available at some local pharmacies without a prescription.

Board member Dr. Grant Varian and Nursing Director Kelly Reaver said this option to offer naloxone came about through a joint effort on behalf of the health district, the MHDAS and Mary Rutan Hospital. The MHDAS also provided $5,000 earlier this year to help jump start the program.

“This is a really cool example of collaboration, and even people at the state level have taken notice,” Dr. Varian said. “By joining together, we’re able to purchase the naloxone at some of the best rates and make it available for the community.”

“It took a few extra hurdles to jump through, but it’s been a worthwhile project,” Reaver said. “Ashley (Kunkel) also deserves a lot of thanks for designing this program from the ground up.”

Kunkel, a registered nurse who previously worked as a surgical nurse at Mary Rutan Hospital, said at last month’s meeting that one of the most important aspects of the training is the chance to refer participants to treatment resources and support groups for families.

“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."

To register for the program, call 651-6901 by the Thursday prior to the session.

In other nursing matters, Reaver noted there are still spots available for the upcoming adult dental clinic from 8 a.m. to noon Wednesday, April 24, at Robson Family Dentistry, 240 E. Sandusky Ave. The clinic is offered in conjunction with the dentistry, the health district and Community Health & Wellness Partners of Logan County.

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