College to carry Naloxone

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Staff and community members hear the group's presentation. Photo Gabe Elmosleh

By Gabriel Elmosleh

Contributor

Clackamas Community College hosted a community training presentation on Feb. 27 to educate the public on the dangers of fentanyl and demonstrate how to use Naloxone, more commonly known as Narcan.

The presentation at the Harmony campus on Feb. 27 was led by Michelle Kutnyak from Northwest Family Services, Katie Knutsen from Clackamas County Public Health and Elizabeth Smith from Oxford House, an international sober living organization. The training was attended by local residents, business owners and a large gathering of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members from Clackamas County.

From September 2022 to September 2023, there was a 41.5% increase in overdose deaths in the state of Oregon, which have mostly been attributed to the effects of COVID-19, as well as fentanyl’s popularity on the east coast prior to COVID-19.

“(Fentanyl has) been around for quite a while but people didn’t figure out a really cheap way to make it at home, and so once it started being mass produced they realized what an easy market it is. I think that COVID, the isolation, the mental health, everything was just the perfect storm,” said Smith.

Narcan has been made more publicly available over the last few years and Clackamas County has seen a very positive impact, on both a medical and social well being, according to Knutsen.

“I have seen a reduction in the stigma around carrying it (Narcan). I’ve seen a lot of people that I don’t think would have been willing to carry it previously, stepping up and asking for it. So I really think that has helped to shift the conversation,” Smith said.

“There’s a lot of EMS reports with the narrative around the situation being bystanders administering Narcan before EMS ever arrived, and I think that is a huge positive thing that has come out of Narcan being more available is that people have it and that they know how to use it and recognize an overdose,” Knutsen said.

Clackamas County also trained CCC campus safety personnel to use Narcan, and they are equipped with it on all CCC campuses. Sunny Olsen, the director of the Harmony campus and Community Education, was also in attendance and announced that the CCC Campuses would start carrying Narcan. Since then, John Ginsburg, Director of student life at CCC has confirmed that all 3 campuses have Narcan and have started distributing it.

“All 3 campuses are distributing Naloxone…The kits come from Clackamas county, and at the Oregon city campus, they are distributed at the student life office,” said Ginsburg.

The presenters also demonstrated how to administer Naloxone, which can be viewed in this slideshow. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published this article on how to use Naloxone.

Gabriel Elmosleh

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