Friday, May 31, 2019

Overdose recognition and response: A community forum and training

By Craig Bailey

On June 5th, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 informational and training event is taking place, at the Windham Weaponry meeting room, that just may enable you to save a life!

The purpose of the event is to educate the community on the opiate problem and equip attendees with a free NARCAN kit, as well as training on its use. 

The event is sponsored by Be The Influence Opiate Task Force, a collaborative group of Windham and Raymond community leaders working to raise awareness and address concerns caused by substance use and abuse in the area. Panel members for the event include: John Kooistra (Windham Deputy Fire Chief), Kevin Schofield (Windham Police Chief), Jonathan Sahrbeck (Cumberland Country District Attorney), Daniel Rideout (Westbrook / Windham Recovery Liaison).

The event will include training on the use of NARCAN (which reverses the effects of an opiate-induced overdose) by Lizzy Garnatz, Community Health Promotion Specialist. Immediately following, John Kooistra will provide training on CPR.

Laura Morris Executive Director of Be The Influence emphasized, “Anyone could save a life. This is very similar to the idea of having the public learn CPR.”

However, some might ask, what incentive does a person with an opiate substance disorder have to quit, if they can be saved from an overdose with NARCAN? acknowledged, “We need to reverse the stigma related to the use of NARCAN. To be clear, someone with an opiate substance disorder doesn’t aspire to receive NARCAN treatment. A heroin user in recovery relayed to me that being treated with NARCAN feels like you are in a microwave oven, being burned from the inside out. It is VERY painful. Those suffering from opiate-related disorders are not using NARCAN for their benefit.”

Morris encourages the entire community to attend the event to help with the opiate crisis. “Our goal is to equip the community with knowledge, training and NARCAN, to enable the saving of additional lives from opiate-induced overdoses.”

Please consider attending this highly impactful event. Who knows, maybe you will be in a position to save a loved one, or perhaps someone you don’t even know - yet…
Portland Public Health is supplying a NARCAN kit to all who attend, and the local Rotary club is providing space and light refreshments.

If you are interested in attending, or have questions, please send an email to Laura Morris, Executive Director, Be The Influence at: Or, just show up!

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