A close-up of a bottle of Naloxone. (Photo by Emily Black)
MOHAVE COUNTY — Four Arizonans die of an overdose every day, and overdose fatalities are continuing to rise, according to officials.
For that reason, the Arizona House of Representatives passed bill HB 2355 on Aug. 6, 2016, allowing any layperson to use or distribute Naloxone. Commonly known as Narcan, it is a medication administered to immediately reverse opioid overdoses.
Courteney Wettemann, Northern Arizona overdose prevention coordinator, said there are several distribution sites in Mohave County for the anecdote. Wettemann is a member of Sonoran Prevention Works, a grassroots group helping Arizona communities deal with drug use.
“We would like everyone to be empowered to save the lives of their friends, family members, neighbors, coworkers and community members,” said Wettemann.
“Our harm-reduction supplies are free and available to anyone who wants them. Folks can acquire Naloxone and other supplies at any of our locations or events we table, and can also request that kits be mailed to them.”
Naloxone has been offered to the public in many states because of a sharp increase in opioid overdoses in the U.S., said Wettemann. In her ideal world, everyone would have Naloxone on hand in case of a potential emergency.
Wettemann said people have become aware of the addition of Fentanyl in many drugs, including heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, Xanax and Percocet. This makes people vulnerable to a potential opioid overdose, even if they don’t have a dependence on opioids.
Free kits can be picked up from various volunteer distributors, needle exchanges, health departments and pharmacies throughout the area. In Kingman, they are available at the Kingman Harm Reduction Program, 3505 Western Ave., Suite B.
For distribution in Dolan Springs, Chloride, Meadview and White Hills, contact Jay Fleming at 928-788-0861.
“I’m distributing Narcan because I’ve seen too many needless deaths from opioid overdoses, something Naloxone can reverse in minutes,” said Fleming.
For more information about Naloxone or overdoses, or to receive training, visit spwaz.org or contact Wettemann at 928-550-1681.