NCHRC's North Carolina Community Based Overdose Prevention Project
Since the Overdose Prevention Project (OPP) became operational August 1, 2013 NCHRC has dispensed over 2,648 overdose rescue kits that include naloxone (as of 7/16/2014) and have received 108 confirmed reports that the life saving medication was administered successfully by lay individuals. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist, which reverses the deadly effects of an opiate overdose. In an opiate overdose, the victim’s respiratory drive is compromised potentially leading to respiratory arrest and death. When people are trained in the signs and proper response to an overdose, a victim’s life can be spared and a family’s agony averted.
With unintentional drug overdoses threatening to become the leading cause of accidental deaths in North Carolina, the need to increase access to overdose prevention education and naloxone could not be greater. That is why starting in March the OPP will have six new contractors available across the state to train and dispense naloxone to people at risk of having an overdose as well as those most likely to witness an overdose.
The “911 Good Samaritan/Access to Naloxone” bill allows for a standing order distribution, meaning that medical practitioners can grant permission to agencies like NCHRC to dispense naloxone without the provider present. This allows the OPP to dispense naloxone in diverse settings to people who may feel stigmatized or shamed for their addiction. Also known as SB20, the new law lifts the fear of calling for medical assistance in the event of a drug overdose. Under SB20, witnesses and victims of an overdose have limited criminal immunity from prosecution for small amounts of most drugs and paraphernalia that may be found as a result of calling for help. The immunity also applies to underage drinkers who seek help for alcohol poisoning, but the caller must give their real name, stay with the victim and only the caller is immune.
If you or someone you know is at risk of experiencing or witnessing a drug overdose, call NCHRC's Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Coordinator Amanda Muller at 954-501-3924 to reserve an overdose rescue kit. If you would like more information about free, in-house overdose prevention training; consulting on how to set up your own overdose prevention program; or are interested in volunteering with NCHRC, please visit www.nchrc.org.
Locations to pick up your overdose rescue kits in North Carolina are:
Western Carolina: Franklin, Clyde, Asheville, Arden, Weaverville, Marion
Central Carolina: Charlotte, Hickory
Triad: Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem
Triangle: Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Carrboro, Apex and Cary
Eastern and Southern Carolina: Wilmington, Lumberton, Fayetteville, Rocky Mount, Aberdeen