Wednesday, May 16, 2018 - 8:49am

Deaths and hospitalizations from opioid overdose continue to increase in Dane County. In an effort to slow this growing trend, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) produced a short educational video to teach people how to provide help in an overdose situation and potentially save a life.

“Everyone in our community should take a few minutes to watch this video,” commented Sarah Johnson, Health Education Specialist for PHMDC. “Anyone can come in contact with an overdose victim,” added Detective Dan Swanson, of the Madison Police Department (MPD). According to Swanson, MPD responded to 259 overdose calls in 2017. Over half, 161 calls, were for overdoses occurring in a public location such as a car, store, or restaurant.

The video provides viewers with an understanding of the risk factors for an opioid overdose as well as how to recognize when someone is experiencing an overdose. Most importantly, viewers will gain a clear understanding of how to help someone experiencing an overdose. “You must contact 911. Next, administer Narcan – a lifesaving, overdose reversal medication,” says Swanson.

Expanding the use of Narcan is a key part of the public health response to the opioid crisis. The US Surgeon General recently recommended that more individuals, including family, friends and those who use opioids, keep the drug on hand. Pharmacists in Wisconsin are able to provide Narcan (or the generic version, naloxone) without a prescription to individuals at risk of an opioid overdose, as well as their family and friends and anyone who may witness an opioid overdose. In addition to pharmacies, individuals can obtain Narcan by contacting the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin’s Lifepoint program at (608) 252-6540 or (800) 486-6276.

Partners involved in creating the video include Dane County Emergency Medical Services, Madison Police Department, Madison Fire Department, City of Madison IT Media Team, and the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.

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