NC Harm Reduction Coalition’s Overdose Prevention Program Shows Successful Impact, Receives National Attention
The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) is saving lives and bringing overdose victims back from the brink of death with its community-based Overdose Prevention Program (OPP). On April 9th, 2013, North Carolina passed one of the most comprehensive drug overdose prevention laws in the country called the “911 Good Samaritan and Naloxone Access Bill.” Also known as SB20, NCHRC which advocated for this bill’s passage, quickly acted to disseminate and implement this life-saving law. The OPP provides free overdose reversal kits and training to those likely to experience or witness an overdose. “Since the OPP became fully operational on August 1st, NCHRC has dispensed close to 550 overdose rescues kits, and 35 lay individuals have reported they successfully administered naloxone, the antidote for opiate overdose, and saved someone’s life,” stated NCHRC’s Executive Director Robert Childs.
Due to the quick-thinking and dedication of Louise Vincent, a coalition partner of NCHRC for over 6 years, the nation has been able to witness naloxone bringing a woman back to life. Louise’s friend overdosed and had stopped breathing when Louise intervened with rescue breathing and the OPP’s overdose reversal kit. In a few long minutes, the naloxone reversed the overdose and saved her life -- all while being filmed. This first-hand account has been picked up by the media, including CNN, the Daily Mail (UK) and FOX News, and viewers have seen Louise’s friend receive a second chance at life. To view the CNN and Fox News Charlotte video yourself, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWopsRaeY6M and http://www.myfoxcarolinas.com/story/23960573/prescription-drug-to-reverse-heroin-overdose-available-....
“[The] media attention has been great because that means more people will hear about how grassroots organizations are taking matters into their own hands to save lives,” says Leilani Attilio, NCHRC Medical and Overdose Prevention Project Coordinator. The OPP provides free education about the risks, signs, and recommended interventions for drug overdose.
In an effort to reduce drug overdose fatalities in North Carolina, SB20 protects witnesses and victims of overdose from prosecution for small amounts of certain drugs and paraphernalia that may be found as a result of seeking help for an overdose. The immunity also applies to underage drinkers who seek help for alcohol poisoning. Most of the time a person will use drugs in the presence of another person, but less than half call for help in the event of an overdose due to fear of criminal repercussions for drug or paraphernalia possession. SB20 places the importance of human life above an arrest in order to encourage overdose witnesses to seek help. SB20 also allows for a standing order distribution, meaning that medical practitioners can grant permission to agencies like NCHRC to dispense naloxone without the provider present.
To receive free, in-house drug overdose prevention and SB20 training for organizations, staff and clients and learn how to set-up your own overdose prevention program, please contact the NCHRC Overdose Prevention Coordinator, Leilani Attilio, at (610) 420-1230 or Leilani.Attilio@gmail.com. More information about SB20 can be found at http://www.nchrc.org/law-enforcement/nc-s-new-overdose-prevention-law-sb-20/