September 1, 2021 was set for Save a Life Free Naloxone Day, in which,17 West Virginia Counties were banding together to host the largest day yet of naloxone distribution in the state. Locally, Ohio and Wetzel counties held their drive-thru sites on September 2 due to rain and the teams in the northern panhandle, gave away 224 Narcan kits, or 448 doses with training.
West Virginia lost 1,349 family members to fatal overdoses last year, the first year the state lost 3 residents a day, on average. 17 counties, including most of the hardest hit, had set up free naloxone booths at churches, clinics, colleges, gas stations, parks, supermarkets, and even a pet shop. All 74 locations also offer training and education, as well as resources for accessing recovery services.
Participating counties included: Kanawha, Cabell, Berkeley, Monongalia, Logan, Mercer, Ohio, Harrison, Wayne, Marion, McDowell, Jefferson, Putnam, Boone, Wyoming, Morgan, & Wetzel. Together, these counties accounted for two thirds of the state’s fatal drug overdoses from 2020. Organizers had planed to distribute over 4,000 naloxone kits (or over 8,000 doses) throughout the course of the day.
Many people have heard of naloxone by one of its brand names, Narcan. Narcan is an easy to use nasal spray with no adverse side effects that works to reverse opioid overdoses. 2021 represents the 50th anniversary since naloxone was approved by the FDA in 1971.
Family members, friends of people who take opioids for pain, friends of people who use drugs, people who work with high risk populations or anyone who wants to be prepared to save a life were welcome to get trained.