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Naloxone Training Puts Opioid Response In Community's Hands

Erik Neumann / KUER
Greg Myers is a clinical pharmacist with Memorial Clinic Pharmacy. He led a Naloxone training at Park City Hospital on Tuesday.

The Park City Hospital hosted a free naloxone training this week. That’s the drug used to reverse an opioid overdose. The event drew a big response from Park City residents. 

In a basement auditorium at the hospital, around 50 people are crowded around three long tables. Greg Myers is leading a demonstration on how to bring someone out of a drug overdose.

"Within the kit itself you’ve got two three-milliliter syringes with the needles already attached," Myers says. He uses one syringe to draw liquid from a tiny glass bottle. "I’ll kind of go through it right here," he says.  

Myers slips the needle into a small, soft paperweight-size piece of plastic, made to represent a human shoulder or thigh.

During an overdose, opioids attach to receptors in the human brain, which causes breathing to stop. When naloxone is injected into the body, it knocks those opioids off and allows breathing to start again.

The overdose deaths of two Park City teens last year brought the danger of opioids into sharp focus here.

Steve White is the pastor at Mountain Life Church, where one of the boys attended.

"It was a wake-up call to something a lot of people were aware of and it hit home in a new way when it was two of our young men," White says. 

Andrew Wheeler was also at the training. He says he wanted to be prepared in light of the national epidemic. Utah ranks 7th in the nation for opioid overdose deaths.

"I’ve had a lot of friends who’ve passed away on it too. Yup, [I] want to be educated," Wheeler says. 

Greg Myers, the trainer, says there’s still too much stigma about admitting that you might need to use naloxone.

"It’s kind of one of those things that I think nobody wants to talk about." 

Trainings like this one are increasing that conversation and putting prevention tools in the hands of the community. 

Intermountain Heber Valley Hospital will host another free naloxone training on November 7, at 6:00 p.m. More information can be found here

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