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HELP4WV partners with WV Drug Intervention Institute to distribute opioid overdose reversal drug

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 1:42 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia’s addiction and mental health helpline, HELP4WV, is aiming to reduce the amount of overdose deaths in the state. They’re doing this by urging West Virginians to become “Naloxone Heroes” by obtaining free doses of the overdose reversal drug, naloxone.

Naloxone is simple for anyone to administer, and it’s extremely effective at counteracting opioid overdoses, which could save a multitude of lives in the mountain state. A few common opioids include heroin, fentanyl, or oxycodone.

Naloxone is available without a perscription in West Virginia through a standing order issued by the State Health Officer, Dr. Ayne Amjad. HELP4WV is partnering with the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute to get this life-saving medication to more West Virginians, including those in active addiction, those who have friends or family with a drug addiction, and anyone who may encounter someone in need of the life-saving intervention.

This is an increasingly important campaign, as West Virginia experienced a 45% increase in the number of overdose deaths in 2020. An estimated 1,275 West Virginians passed away last year due to an overdose, at least some pf which may have been preventable with more widespread access to Naloxone.

Jordan Dennison, a recovery coach for HELP4WV, knows he could have been one of those statistics in the past. During his years of active addiction, he was treated eleven times with naloxone. Now, in recovery, he helps others battling addiction, saying that “Finding someone you know or even a stranger overdosing is very traumatic, especially when you are completely helpless and unprepared. Naloxone can literally save that person’s life and also provide them another opportunity to find recovery. If it weren’t for naloxone, I wouldn’t be here today, my parents wouldn’t have their oldest child, and my son wouldn’t have a father. I don’t want any other family to suffer from that type of grief. This is why I think it’s so important for us to make naloxone accessible to all.”

Those wishing to receive the free naloxone can visit Help4WV.com and scroll to the “Be a Naloxone Hero” badge. They can also call or text 1-844-HELP-4WV to have the link emailed or texted. After completing a short online course that gives instruction on proper use of the medication, participants will be mailed a training certificate and two doses of auto-injector naloxone free of charge.

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