Hamilton County Coalition educating public on how to respond to opioid overdoses
The Hamilton County Coalition is taking action.
Hamilton County officials have reported five overdose deaths in the county in the 48-hour time period.
Vanessa Spotts with the coalition says this epidemic affects everyone.
"But then you think about the children, and our parents, and our brothers, and our sister, the siblings that are going to be involved. So it just doesn't affect one or two people. It may seem like five, but when you think about that ripple effect,” Spotts said.
Thursday was the first of three classes offered to the public.
The coalition want everyone to understand opioids and overdoses.
Spotts demonstrated the proper use of Naxolone, or Narcan, which is the only medication that can stop an overdose.
She believes informing the public is the best way to fight this epidemic.
"With the way things are going on in Tennessee and in Hamilton County, we wanted to make certain,” Spotts said.
Mary Heinrich is a medical instructor for Allied Health. She took more than a dozen students to the class. When she heard the news of the overdose deaths, she wanted to make sure her students were educated and is thrilled the coalition is helping out.
"I think this is important for us to educate our community about this. But not only our community, but our churches, our families, our children about what's going on out in the world and what can happen. It's really scary. It's good that they are here in our community and they are right here to help,” Heinrich said.
The coalition reports 85 people died from drug overdoses in 2017. Only 19 of those deaths were caused by illegal drugs. The other 66 people died from overdosing on opioids that were legally prescribed.
Spotts says many of those lives could have been saved if people knew what to do.
"Those individuals didn't know. There was no one there to support even in the thralls of their addiction, that can help them to be able to save their lives,” Spotts said.
Spotts says this isn't the only opportunity the public has to get a certification in Narcan use.
They have classes on the third Tuesday of each month at the Hamilton County Coalition.
More information is on the coalition's website.