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Health center starting naloxone program

Provides access to free life-saving drug for overdoses by Garrett Fuller | May 10, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

A life-saving drug is now readily available in Moniteau County.

The Moniteau County Health Center, in an effort to curb opioid overdose deaths, is offering naloxone, a drug commonly known as Narcan that can reverse opioid overdoses, for free. According to a health center news release, the opioid class of drugs -- including many prescription and non-prescription drugs, such as heroin, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl -- accounts for more than 70 percent of overdose deaths, which was the leading cause of death in 2020 for adults between 18 and 44 years old in Missouri.

The health center offers naloxone in a nasal spray. Staff are also educating participants on when and how to administer the drug.

Health center Administrator Andrea Kincaid said anyone can stop by the center, 401 S. Francis St., to get a kit. The kit contains two doses of naloxone, she said, and an information packet and airway barrier mask for resuscitating an overdosing person with breathing difficulties. In addition to usage instructions and opioid overdose warning signs, the information packet includes resources for getting help and outlines the Good Samaritan Law, which protects people from arrest or prosecution when reporting drug overdoses. The release said the drug is easy to administer, and a discreet drawstring bag allows the kit to be easily carried.

Kincaid said the Moniteau County program is part of a larger one operated through the University of Missouri-St. Louis Addiction Science Team and Missouri Institute of Mental Health. She said the program is also providing the drug to other entities that may utilize it, such as law enforcement agencies and schools.

"If we do any health fairs or if we're out and about in the community, we don't want anybody ever to be ashamed to ask for it," Kincaid said. "It can be as easy as somebody just wanting it on hand in case they ... came across somebody that is experiencing overdose, or it could be a loved one that they're living with that is struggling with ... addictions from pain medicines from a surgery they had years and years ago. We just don't want people to be ashamed to ask for it."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, anyone at a heightened risk of opioid overdose -- such as those using prescribed high-dose opioid medications, using illegal versions like heroin or using opioids in conjunction with benzodiazepines, another drug class covering many anti-depressants -- should carry naloxone.

Kincaid said the health center has given away 12 kits since April 21, when the program began. To get a kit or for more information, contact the Moniteau County Health Center at 573-796-3412 or visit its office 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.

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