Ramapo hosts Narcan training events for Opioid Awareness Day

Opioids are still a detrimental problem in the U.S. and cost thousands of lives every year. According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths increased by more than 16% from 2020 to 2021, and over 75% of those deaths in 2021 involved opioids.

In light of this and in honor of Opioid Awareness Day, Ramapo College EMS and the Center for Health and Counseling Services hosted two Narcan training events last Thursday. Officially titled the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, the training offered attendees a hands-on experience in learning how to prevent, recognize and respond to opioid overdose. Each person was given a naloxone kit with instructions on how to reverse an overdose.

“The program also focuses on reducing the stigma associated with opioid use and the potential for accidental overdose.”

– Evan Kutzin

“Once administered to a victim, naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, binds to the opioid receptors to reverse the effects of the drugs,” said fire marshal and EMS Coordinator Evan Kutzin in an email. “Opioids can include both street and prescription drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone.”

These campus training events were provided by Morris County Prevention is Key with grant funding from the NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. 

“This program is provided to help reduce the number of overdoses and drug-related deaths in [New Jersey],” Kutzin said. “The program also focuses on reducing the stigma associated with opioid use and the potential for accidental overdose.”

The CDC offers many resources about how to combat the opioid crisis as well. Overdose Data to Action is a four-year initiative where the CDC provides funding to health departments all over the country to increase both surveillance and prevention efforts, such as improving timely overdose tracking, toxicology, connections between those at risk for opioid overdose with care, prescription drug monitoring and many other programs.

Kutzin also emphasized how important it is for anyone with opioids in their home to have access to naloxone because of how prevalent they are as prescription medication. “Many pharmacies are now providing naloxone with any opioid prescription,” he said.

More information or resources on how to obtain naloxone can be found at njharmreduction.org or any New Jersey pharmacy participating in the Naloxone365 program.



Featured photo courtesy of Frank Husarek