‘Become a superhero': Prestonsburg groups host NARCAN training event

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Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 10:21 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Several groups and individuals from Floyd County gathered at the Mountain Arts Center Thursday for a NARCAN training seminar.

The training walked attendees through the process of responding to an overdose situation, including a step-by-step lesson on how to administer the naloxone nasal spray to a person who has overdosed.

Addiction recovery groups from across the region set up in the MAC entryway to offer free information and resources to the trainees and each person left the training seminar with four units of NARCAN to keep on hand in the event of an overdose situation.

Shawn Allen was one of the event organizers. He said a recent increase in fentanyl overdoses in the area shows the need for more NARCAN training. He said the spray has a special meaning for him because he has seen its impact first hand.

“In 2003, I overdosed. And because the EMTs were on hand and had NARCAN, I’m standing here in front of you today with over eight years clean,” said Allen. “Now, that was in 2003. I didn’t get clean for another nine years. But it gave me a shot. It gave me a second chance at life.”

He said the idea of educating the public stems from the message “Don’t let them die,” which highlights the societal stigma that surrounds people who are at risk of overdose.

“It’s really not just an addict issue,” he said. “It’s a first-aid issue.”.

He said accidental overdoses happen to people who are not struggling with addiction, but regardless of their situation the person deserves a second chance.

“As sad as it may sound, some people believe that we should just let people die because it’s their choice to put the drugs in them,” Allen said. “It’s our responsibility, as human beings, to do what we can to save the lives of people who are struggling with this horrible disease.”

He said he hopes to host more events in the future to help spread the message and prepare the people of Eastern Kentucky. If you are unable to make it to a training session, Allen says you should contact Mountain Comprehensive Care or the Floyd County Health Department.

“It’s readily available. It’s free. And it doesn’t cost anything to become somewhat of a superhero, really,” Allen said. “Become a superhero and save someone’s life.”

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