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A&M Health Science Center, BVCOG training others to use opioid overdoses medicine

(KBTX)
Published: Jan. 16, 2019 at 5:51 PM CST
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Public health experts say you are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than a car accident.

Life saving skills were being taught at the Brazos Valley Council of Governments Wednesday. Groups including law enforcement, public health experts, to social workers gathered for a class on how to administer Naloxone.

"Texas has done a great job of passing legislation to allow anybody to carry a Naloxone rescue kit . A Naloxone rescue is so easy anybody can do it," said Dr. Joy Alonzo, with the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Pharmacy.

She lead a group on how to use the emergency kits.

"They're not breathing, they're unconscious you can give them Naloxone. If it's not an opioid overdose it won't hurt. If it is an opioid overdose within a few minutes their respiration, their breathing will be restored and you can wait for EMT's," she said.

Texas is a non-reporting state for opioid overdoses, so there aren't clear numbers on how bad the overdose problem is in the state.

"We definitely have a problem with unreliable data or lack of data. In Texas, [we have] 254 counties [and only] 12 medical examiners," said Alonzo.

So what does that mean to us? It means that possibly your death certificate might be filled out by a justice of the peace who doesn’t have any medical training," she said.

"My grandmother has it in her medicine cabinet for recent surgery that she had and her memory isn't so great so she may take one and then forget that she's taken it," said Bobbi Brooks, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Center Watch UR BAC Manager.

"It’s not just kids. It can be of any age, any lifestyle, any community. It's not specific to one area so it’s important to know that there is a reversal drug that is available," she said.

Local facilities like Symetria Recovery continue to see patients hooked on these types of drugs.

"Naloxone training is open to the community. We're trying to get the word out, trying to educate parents, counselors, people, the health care just to be ready to hep somebody in need wherever you may be," said Amy McNamara, Symetria Recovery Marketing Outreach Coordinator.

You can buy the medication at many area pharmacies. Syringe vials run around $6 at some store. Inhalers to auto-injectors for the medication can range from hundreds of dollars to $3,000.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center is the first in the country to commit to training all students how to identify and treat an opioid overdose.

The Health Science Center has trained more than 400 area law enforcement in the overdose training.