Heroin overdoses in Boone County are at an all-time high and the County’s health department is making sure residents stay prepared to help anyone battling addiction by holding classes to teach how to use the life-saving drug Narcan.
First responders see no signs of the opioid epidemic slowing down. “It could happen anywhere,” said Narcan instructor, Brandice Howell. “It could happen on the street, it could happen to your friend, your family member. It could happen to you.”
Police and Fire volunteers and employees at the Boone County Health Department are among those receiving a crash course on how to use Narcan, a drug that is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The course not only teaches how to administer the drug – as a nasal spray – but also educates the public on how the opioid crisis is affecting everyone, even children.
“We have addicts and they have children, so a kid could get into their cabinet and find a pill on the floor,” Howell said. “Anyone can overdose.”
Leon Krause volunteers for the Belvidere Police Department. One man’s story inspired him to attend the training.
“I was talking to my daughter about this and the guy sitting next to me says do it — he says it saved [his] life and he went through his life experience with what he had and he just blew me away,” Krause said.
For some, learning about different drugs such as prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin, which can each cause an overdose, is the first step to understanding the epidemic.
Rodney Kampfrenz, a Boone County Emergency Management Volunteer, said, “I learned a lot about the opioids and all the other drugs, and the fentanyl, and the effects of it.”
The Boone County Health Department is a resource for addicts to seek help and train on Narcan.
Boone County’s Health Administrator said, “We have an organized community effort now that we need to put forward and address this issue, no matter what the circumstances of the individual, who is addicted, is dealing with.”
There are several more free classes for those who wish to receive the training, including one Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the Boone County Health Department.