The latest statistics from the CDC show there were forty-four opioid-related overdose deaths occurred in Nebraska in 2016. Educating and equipping community members on how to use the opioid reversal drug, naloxone, can help save lives. As part of our goal of providing education opportunities for practicing health professionals, the Southeast Nebraska AHEC partnered with Southeast Community College in Beatrice and Wymore Volunteer Fire Department to cohost two naloxone trainings in November.
During the trainings, 70 first responders, law enforcement, public school and college officials, and community members learned about how opioids work in the body to cause an overdose, how naloxone works to reverse the effects of an overdose, and current laws around the use and access to the drug. Sheriff Brent Lottman of Nemaha County delivered the training and gave participants naloxone delivery devices to use for practice. Sherriff Lottman, who has experience in emergency medical services and also serves as an adjunct instructor of criminal justice at Peru State College, shared how crucial it is to provide naloxone trainings in rural areas, stating, “statistics show in rural areas there is an increased change of death due to opioid overdose…the time it takes to respond is going to cause more deaths.” He also noted that naloxone is especially important for first responders and emergency personnel as accidental exposure to fentanyl is on the rise. He stated it was the “primary reason I want to keep naloxone on hand for the protection of my own staff”.
SE NE AHEC works to adapt to emerging health needs within the region to provide and connect health professionals to community education opportunities. Participants from this successful event shared positive feedback and plan to utilize their knowledge and skills learned. SE NE AHEC has also received requests from other communities regarding naloxone training. The center looks forward to providing this training opportunity to other communities throughout the year.