Amelia Lyman of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin will provide overdose-prevention training in Janesville on Tuesday, July 18.

She will teach people how to prevent, recognize and respond to an overdose and how to administer naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan.

Each attendee can receive a free naloxone kit, which contains three to five doses.

Naloxone is used to reverse an opioid overdose. Opioids are a class of drugs that include legal painkillers and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Lyman has taught the class in Milton and Evansville.

Many people who attend are concerned family members and friends of people who use opioids, she said.

“We also are seeing an increase in concerned community members who want to be proactive and engaged,” Lyman said. “They want to know how to respond if they see an overdose victim.”

The training is “a good opportunity to start the domino process of change,” Lyman said. “This is a health issue. We teach people how to react to someone having a heart attack. We need to promote this like other first-aid training, which is the unfortunate reality of the opioid epidemic.”

Many populations are touched by drug use, and the more people are educated “the better we can handle it,” Lyman said.

Bill Keeton, also of the AIDS Resource Center, explained that the agency has offered overdose-prevention training since 2005.

“We began providing Narcan to injection-drug users who were in positions to witness and stop overdosing,” he said. “We know that people injecting opiates typically do it in groups. To us, it was logical that we offer training to those who might witness overdoses.”

Since then, the agency has offered trainings for church members, law enforcement agencies and community-based groups.

“We have trained more than 12,000 people on how to identify someone experiencing an overdose and how to administer Narcan,” Keeton said. “More than 5,000 times, people have come back to us and said the training helped save someone.”

Providing training is in keeping with the agency’s belief that all human life has value.

“Just because someone is struggling with addiction,” Keeton said, “it should not be a death sentence. We want people to have another chance at sobriety.”

—Anna Marie Lux

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