Kern County Behavioral Health putting Narcan in public’s hands

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Like many places across the country, opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions in Kern County. That’s why county behavioral health is teaming up with various groups in the community to train and provide them with Narcan, the drug that is used to block the effects of an opioid overdose. 

They have obtained over 1,000 kits containing Naloxone, the generic version of Narcan and plan to distribute those kits to organizations and individuals around town. 

In January, Larry Billingsley’s 18-year-old son, Anthony Spence, was found unresponsive in a baseball dugout at Polo Park. According to his dad, he had left home the night before to go out with some friends. They were supposed to bring him home but instead left him at the park alone. 

“You guys just left him out on the cold and you’re supposed to be his friend,” said Billingsley. You don’t do that, it’s terrible.

It was later determined that Spence had died of an overdose.

“If one of those kids had one of these kits, they could’ve administered it, called 911 and given that boy a chance to live,” said Scott Di Stefano, national director for Broken Chains.

Di Stefano is talking about Narcan, a drug that is used to block the effects of an opioid overdose. In a partnership with Kern County Behavioral Health, Di Stefano is hitting the streets of our community to distribute doses and educate our most vulnerable. 

“This is more outreach,” said Ann Sherwood, prevention supervisor with Kern County Behavioral Health. Whether it’s faith-based, or other non-profit organizations that do a lot of work with homeless, with drug-users out in the community that typically don’t come into contact with agencies or law enforcement due to fear or other reasons.

According to reports by Healthy Kern County, our county registered 75 deaths due to opioid-related overdoses in 2017. In order to combat the issue, the Behavioral Health Department says education is key.

The first Narcan training session will be held on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at North High School in Oildale. The next one will be on Saturday, March 30, at noon at Oaks Church located on Campus Park Drive.
 

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