By SHERIDAN CYR
The Southington Town-wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS) will be hosting a free community education event on opioid abuse at the Southington Police Department on Friday, March 23, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The event will feature three speakers, led off by TriCircle, Inc.’s founder, and facilitator of Southington’s Hope and Support Group, Ana Gopoian. Next, Southington resident Christine Gagnon will share her story and experience of her son’s opioid addiction and overdose death. Finally, representatives from Beacon Pharmacy will facilitate the Naloxone training.
“With the opioid problem becoming a national epidemic, we need to make sure people are educated and aware,” said STEPS administrative assistant Megan Albanese. “Towns all over are feeling the effects. Southington is no exception.”
The event will explain how to stop an opioid overdose in its tracks using Naloxone (well-known brand names include Narcan and Evzio), the drug that reverses the effects of an overdose. Beacon Pharmacy will facilitate the training and dissemination of free Naloxone kits.
Police officers and other emergency responders are equipped and trained to use Naloxone when responding to an opioid overdose. Southington High School and both middle schools are also equipped with the antidote.
Opioids produce their effects by acting on opioid receptors in the brain and the nervous system, causing respiratory arrest. Naloxone blocks the opioid receptors.
“By attending this training, participants will gain further knowledge about the epidemic, including town and state specific facts,” said Albanese.
Funding for the event was provided by a state grant from Connecticut State Targeted Response (STR) which focuses on fighting the opioid epidemic.
“Through the support from all of our community stake holders, the Police Department and our progressive Town Council, we are able to hold community eduation events like this to make sure substance abuse prevention is a priority here in Southington,” said Albanese.
STEPS is the community’s substance abuse prevention coalition that specifically focuses on underage drinking, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drug prevention.
The event is free to the public, but registration is required.