The search for a COVID-19 vaccine continues, but doctors have already found an antidote to our other health crisis. It’s easy to administer and readily available. And Opioid Outreach Specialist Amy Hill dreams of a day when every adult carries a dose.
“This is a hard time for everyone, but there is hope! We can save hundreds of lives in Snohomish County, and thousands of lives across the United States,” says Hill, who works at Snohomish County Human Services.
Hill hosts regular workshops to train everyday citizens in Narcan (also known as Naloxone), a life-saving drug that may reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. If you had a magic wand that stopped heart attacks, you would carry that magic wand everywhere you went. Naloxone is a magic wand that can stop many opioid overdoses, and Hill wants to get it in the hands of every adult in Snohomish County.
“In April 2018 the Surgeon General’s office issued its first public advisory in 13 years, calling on adults to learn how to use Narcan and keep it within reach. Studies have shown that in communities where people have Narcan and carry it, it works.”
Visit snohomishcountywa.gov/3687/About-the-Opioid-Project to find out about upcoming workshops in early 2021, or visit stopoverdose.org to find pharmacies in Snohomish County that carry Narcan.
Your cousin, your neighbor
It might be time to update your image of a person who’s experienced an overdose.
“Opioid use and overdoses can occur in anyone,” Hill says.
Perhaps you know someone who’s been prescribed painkillers after an injury at work or an operation. It can be challenging to manage pain after a surgery, and accidentally overmedicating is very common. Maybe a neighbor or friend is still experiencing pain after a prescription runs out, and turns to illicit drugsto find relief. An overdose can occur without an addiction, and everyone is susceptible.
“An accidental overdose after knee surgery is exactly the same as an overdose in a person who lives on the street, and the remedy is the same,” Hill says.
Add in Fentanyl, an opioid 100 times stronger than morphine which can be easily disguised as legitimate medication and often contaminates illicit drugs, and an overdose can truly happen to anyone. But Amy Hill doesn’t want you to lose hope.
“There are resources out there — family members of people who’ve experienced overdoses often feel really hopeless and don’t know where to start. I’ll walk through the process with clients and support in any way I can.”
Make Amy Hill at Snohomish County Human Services your first step to connect with in-patient and out-patient treatment specialists, support groups, social workers, mental health support and more. Visit snohomishcountywa.gov/191/Human-Services to explore your options, or reach out to Amy Hill directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.