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Monongahela Valley Hospital Provides Narcan Training

Monongahela Valley Hospital Provides Narcan Training photo

Monongahela Valley Hospital trained first responders to administer the nasal spray opioid antidote Narcan. Pre-hospital Coordinator Linda Zidek (left) taught first responders like Carroll Twp. Police Chief Paul Brand how to use the nasal Narcan and the assisted breathing device on a mannequin.
(July 23, 2015 - Carroll Township, Pa.)

On Monday, July 20, Monongahela Valley Hospital staff trained local police chiefs and their officers on the overdose antidote naloxone - known as Narcan - given on scene to individuals who present symptoms of opioid overdoses.

Officers from Carroll Township, Donora and North Belle Vernon attended the training and received a total of 18 kits valued at $70 each. Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone championed the program and said the kits are paid for with money confiscated from drug dealers. He said the program will be sustained through a grant from the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association.

A Pennsylvania law permits first responders such as firefighters, police, and emergency medical technicians to carry Narcan if they receive training on administering the nasal spray.

Opiates include heroin, opium, prescription opioids such as Oxycodone, Fentanyl and Vicodin and benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Ativan.

MVH Pre-hospital Coordinator Linda Zidek taught first responders how to recognize an overdose, and then using a Narcan kit and a mannequin, taught each attendee how to administer assisted respirations, use the nasal applicator to administer the Narcan and care for the patient until Emergency Medical Services arrives.

Mrs. Zidek, who regularly provides training sessions to first responders on myriad topics, will repeat the training on July 28 at 6 p.m. at the hospital. To register, first responders may call Mrs. Zidek at 724-258-1072.

"MVH serves the three-county area and we have an excellent relationship with our first responders, so we wanted to offer the education to use this antidote," said MVH Senior Vice President of Nursing Mary Lou Murt. "We see the patients coming into our Emergency Department, so we know there's a problem."

"This (training) is one part of the equation," said Mr. Vittone. "We're working in the communities on this, using Take Back (drug collection) Boxes to get drugs off the street. We're going to keep on the drug dealers - we arrested 11 more last week - and we're going to keep up with education. Heroin abuse and prescription drug abuse are everywhere. We appreciate MVH for doing this training. We're getting those life-saving drugs to those (first responders) and hopefully it will make an impact."

He added that since 2011, there have been 208 overdose deaths in Washington County, which has a population of about 208,000.

"We're seeing a big increase (in overdoses) over the years and it's not going away," said Carroll Twp. Police Chief Paul Brand, who attended with two of his officers. "We are the front line people and we are often the first ones on a scene."

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