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BELLEVUE — Huron Public Health officials will be returning to Bellevue to offer residents free Narcan kits, education and training through a grant from the Ohio Department of Health.

This will be the second Narcan distribution and training Huron County health officials have hosted in Bellevue. The first took place back in March and at the city offices. No one attended the event, so health officials and Mayor Kevin Strecker have been looking into alternative sites — since the city offices are housed in the same building as the police department.

The program and distribution will be held at the Bellevue Public Library on Tuesday, May 31 from 5 to 7 p.m. Huron County Public Health will have 25 to 30 kits on hand. The library will offer a bit more anonymity for those interested in attending the event because it will be during normal business hours.

Another thing that is different about this distribution and training is that the Narcan kits will be free — before the kits were $68 each — Huron County Public Health became a Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) distribution and training site earlier this month.

Project DAWN is Ohio’s first overdose reversal project and was named in memory of Leslie Dawn Cooper, a woman who struggled with addition and died of an opioid overdose in 2009.

Drug overdose deaths have increased 137 percent since 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In 2014, unintentional drug overdoses caused 2,531 deaths in Ohio. In just Huron County, the 2014 Community Health Assessment found that nine percent of adults have misused prescription drugs in the past six months. The study also found that increased use of Fentanyl, a powerful opioid used to treat pain after surgery, was a significant contributor to the rise in overdose deaths — in Ohio the number of Fentanyl-related overdose deaths rose from 84 in 2013 to 503 in 2014.

“Our goal is to reduced and prevent death,” said Elaine Barman, education and outreach specialist. “Huron County Public Health suggests that anyone who has a prescription for an opiate based drug, have Narcan in their home. There have been situations where someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia took to many of their medication, or if a child were to accidentally take an opiate medication. It can also be picked up for a loved one who may be abusing an opiate prescription, or heroin. Saving someone from an overdose is not the end of our goals, we want that person to seek recovery. Recovery can be supported and encouraged by the community. Narcan is not the solution, but does give that person a chance to go through recovery. If someone has a drug addiction, having Narcan available will not prevent them from using, but also will not encourage them to use.”

The free Project DAWN kits will include two doses of Naloxone — commonly known as Narcan — two nasal atomizers, two face shields for rescue breathing, a quick reference tool on how to administer the drug and a list of resources in Huron County were treatment options are available.

During the training, which is required before people can receive a kit, participants will learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose, be able to distinguish between the different types of overdoses, learn to perform rescue breathing, call 911 and administer the intranasal dose of Narcan.

Those interested in attending the event are asked to fill out a five-page intake form, which asks questions about the person you feel is at risk of an overdose, what type of drugs they are taking and if they have a history of overdoses. The questionnaire also asks people if they have ever witnessed an overdose, if they’ve ever administered naloxone before and how they heard about the program.

Forms will be available during the vent, but a link can be found below:

Project DAWN kits are also available at the Huron County Public Health office, 180 Milan Ave. Suite 8 in Norwalk, during their regular business hours: Monday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Amber Hatten can be reached at 419-483-4190 ext. 1969. Follow us on Twitter @BellevueGazette.

By Amber Hatten