North Lewisburg to take part in Narcan program

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The Village of North Lewisburg will be taking part in a grant funded program to get Narcan into the hands of anyone who wants it.

Stacey Thomas, Director of Nursing for the Champaign County Health District, approached council Tuesday night about being part of the Community Naloxone (Narcan) Distribution Grant Program.

Narcan is a drug that can immediately help anyone suffering from an opioid overdose. The drug is administered as a nasal mist and carries no side effects of its own, even if administered to someone not suffering from an overdose.

Thomas said the free kits are being offered to individuals through the mail or at service agencies trained to provide the drug. Each kit includes gloves, a mask and two doses of Narcan.

Those receiving the kits would receive training on how to administer the drug, including how to administer rescue breaths while waiting for medical personnel to arrive. If receiving the kit through the mail, the person requesting must first watch an online video about its use.

“I think it’s good to save lives,” North Lewisburg Mayor Cheryl Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth said the village has had overdoses happen at two businesses and in the park and the program could help. The mayor added that she would like to get the Narcan into the hands of first responders that serve the village, including officers of the Mechanicsburg Police Department, in case of accidental overdoses.

Mechanicsburg Police Captain Scott Bodey, who attends meetings to give reports on criminal activity in the village, said he would have to check on department policy about carrying the anti-OD drug. He also expressed reservations about freely handing out the drug to the public.

Bodey shared concerns about opioid users simply keeping Narcan on hand as a “crutch” in case they overdose at some point. He said for some drug users, an overdose is the “eye opening” experience that pushes them toward recovery.

Thomas said that the experience of using Narcan is not pleasant for a drug user. When administered, the overdose can be reversed in two to three minutes but the user quickly experiences withdrawal symptoms.

Thomas was asked what safeguards are in place to ensure drug users don’t habitually return to get more doses of Narcan.

“Nothing,” Thomas said. “If they use it and want more, we encourage them to get more.”

She said treatment options aren’t curtailing the opioid epidemic in Ohio and people are dying from overdoses. She said the goal of the program is simply to keep people alive.

The board voted 5-0 to take part in the program.

“It’s here, whether we like it or not,” council member John Collier said.

Council members also discussed recent problems with the village’s trash hauling provider, Republic. Issues with billing and missed collections were brought up by council member Matt Warner.

He said residents are putting their trash cans curbside, only to find they have not been dumped at the end of the day, while their neighbor’s trash is collected. At least one other council member and the mayor said they had experienced similar incidents.

Warner also said bills are showing charges above the normal $49 bill. Hollingsworth said she believe the company instituted 3% increase in collection fees without noting it on the bills.

The mayor went on to say the company has said it is having trouble securing trash truck drivers, but she admitted that does not explain why random residents are being skipped.

Hollingsworth urged residents to contact the village if trash is not collected. North Lewisburg officials will contact Republic to correct the issue.



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