Opioid education topic of Narcan Night Oak Harbor

Opioid addiction, trends and how to help during an overdose will be addressed during a presentation called “Narcan Night Oak Harbor” Tuesday evening, 6:30 to 8 pm at Oak Harbor Library.

The event covers symptoms of an opioid overdose, what to do if an overdose is suspected and how to administer a drug called naloxone that temporarily stops the effect of opioids and helps a person start to breathe again.

The educational, collaborative program is sponsored by Island County, the Center for Opioid Safety Education (COSE), WhidbeyHealth EMS and Island Drug.

“It’s a way to help raise awareness and mobilize the community,” said featured speaker Susan Kingston, program coordinator of University of Washington Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute that is also a co-sponsor and founder of the website stopoverdose.org

The first Narcan Night in Langley earlier this year proved so successful that additional events were added, said Skye Newkirk, behavioral health specialist, Island County Human Services.

“The response and interest from the community was phenomenal,” he said. “People showed that they really do care about their friends, family, and neighbors and just want to see them alive and getting help.”

Newkirk said the presentation led to addiction recovery conversations around the community, and sparked discussions about how to help heal those who suffer from addiction.

“It was because of the community interest that we were asked to repeat the event,” he added.

Naloxone (the generic name) is also sold under the brand names Narcan and Evzio. It works by attaching to the same brain receptors as opioids, but more strongly. Naloxone can be administered in many ways; injected into a thick muscle, such as an arm or leg, auto-injected or sprayed into the nose.

Several laws in Washington state allow lay persons to possess and administer naloxone and provide immunity from liability when assisting in an overdose.

A prescription for it is not needed for anyone “at risk for having or witnessing a drug overdose.” This includes people who use opioids, family members, friends and professionals. Locally, naloxone is available at Island Drug.

Another Narcan Night is being planned for Camano Island.

Narcan Night Oak Harbor: 6:30 to 8 pm, Tuesday, April 18 at Oak Harbor Library, 1000 SE Regatta Drive.

For more information, contact Skye Newkirk at s.newkirk@co.island.wa.us