Saving Lives

Community efforts to contribute to making a significant reduction in opioid drug overdoses and overdose deaths have been interfered with by the COVID pandemic. Instead of seeing a decline in overdoses, we are experiencing a surge in overdoses throughout the country. I know that I have been personally affected by the isolation that was forced upon us by a virus. We all have had to navigate our world differently during this time of COVID. Connecting socially is so important to us as humans.  Positive social support is especially vital for those with a substance use disorder during recovery. Sam Quinones describes in his book, Dreamland…The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic that heroin thrives in isolation. This is true for an addiction to any substance.  

Sam Quinones goes on to say, “I believe more strongly than ever that the antidote to heroin is community.”  

But many during the past year have been forced into quarantine and on top of that, have lost jobs increasing the feelings of stress and uncertainty and a disconnect from community.  Isolation, stress, uncertainty seems a recipe for relapse.  It is so important for us to keep abreast of available supports. A Place For Mary lists programs, support groups, other resources and crisis numbers for ourselves and our loved ones. And if we are concerned that a loved one may overdose on an opioid, we have an opportunity to mail order through the DAWN project at the Lucas County Health Department two doses of Narcan (also known as “Naloxone”) Narcan is a remedy for an opioid overdose. Administered in the nostril, the drug will reverse the overdose. I recommend carefully reviewing the video that comes with the dosage as it is important to understand not only how to administer, but how the drug works and the protocols involved in administering. To learn more about Narcan and how to receive it for emergency purposes, go to: 

Narcan (Naloxone) Training | Toledo Lucas County Health Department If you live outside of Lucas County and in the state of Ohio, you can locate a DAWN Project site by going to: List of Project DAWN Sites by County | Ohio Department of Health  You can also ask your pharmacy whether they dispense Narcan. Many pharmacies across the states do dispense Narcan without a prescription and the costs are covered or partially covered by many insurance plans.  

Narcan saves lives. Connecting or reconnecting to treatment cannot happen if the overdose is not reversed.  

DRUG TAKE BACK DAY April 24, 2021

Since 2010, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has partnered with Law Enforcement agencies across the United States to “take back” unused and expired medications from the homes of citizens during semi-annual Drug Take Back Days. As a result of this concerted effort, more than 6,842 tons of medications have been collected and removed from potential abuse. Once again, the Greater Toledo Area, through the coordination of the Sylvania Community Action Team and with support from the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas county will be participating in this effort. On Saturday, April 24, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Lucas County Police departments, local pharmacies, hospitals, and other community support groups will take part in our local Drug Take Back Day.

This event is designed to make it easy for us to remove potentially addictive substances from our homes. Fatal drug overdoses remain the number one cause of accidental deaths in Ohio. As many of us are keenly aware, prescription opioid abuse can lead to heroin and other opioid addiction. Many addicted to heroin began their addiction by misusing prescription pain medications.

Many people get their supply of opiates (such as Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin) for non-medicinal purposes from the homes of their parents, grandparents, or family friends. We can take action against the growing overdose epidemic by safely storing prescription medications and disposing of unused medications.

If you have unused or outdated prescription medications at home, this is your chance to clean out the medicine cabinet, nightstand, kitchen shelf or wherever you have stored old prescription medications and dispose of them safely at a Take Back collection site on April 24th.

Here is a list of the Drug Take Back Day collection sites in Lucas County:

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Follow this link to locate a Take Back collection site in areas throughout the United States: https://takebackday.dea.gov/#collection-locator

Please note that permanent drug drop boxes are available in Lucas County for disposal of medications at any time of the year. Click on this link to find a drop box near you: https://d3kvsa3kfj2pqv.cloudfront.net/uploads/images/LucasCoDropBoxLocations-2021.pdf?mtime=20210405131334

Contact Kathy Schnapp, Prevention Educator, Harbor, kschnapp@harbor.org, for free presentations on the Heroin and Opiate Epidemic in Lucas County for your organization, business, or or community group.