Overdose training offered by TN state program to combat opioid crisis


RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The opioid crisis continues to wreak havoc on Tennessee. In response to that, training is being held in Smyrna to teach people how to recognize and react to a drug overdose.

According to state data, Rutherford County is ranked fourth when it comes to overdoses in the state. Last year, there were 1507 calls for overdoses in Rutherford County. One hundred and twenty-four of them were confirmed as accidental overdoses.

“Fentanyl is very easy to make, to lace into things to distribute,” said Michael Bare, regional overdose prevention specialist for the state of Tennessee’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department. “What we see is pills that are fentanyl and baby powder or something like that. Then, they are marketed as OxyContin or even marijuana that has fentanyl laced into it. So, you would never expect an opioid overdose.”

So far in 2021, Rutherford County has seen 128 accidental overdoses. That’s four more than what was seen all year in 2020.

“2020 was a particularly, perhaps not by a lot, but it was a particularly rough year for overdose rates, simply because you had people who maybe couldn’t go to their NA meetings or they couldn’t go to their AA meetings,” said Bare.

Thursday, there will be a public training at the Smyrna Police Department, where Bare will teach others what overdoses look like and how best to respond.

Click here for complete coverage of Tennessee’s Opioid Crisis.

“This is a problem that is so large, it really is no other choice but to try and educate the general public,” said Bare. “Our hope is that as we educate more and more that these ideas and these points we are trying to make in the training will snowball and more people will become educated over time.”

Bare will also teach the importance of using naloxone, even when you aren’t sure if the person is overdosing.

“When giving naloxone, it does no harm,” said Bare. “So, if someone was — maybe they had alcohol poisoning and you thought they were overdosing… if you were to administer naloxone that would have no ill effect on them. So, it’s better safe than sorry.”

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If you want to go through this training, but cannot attend Thursday — there will be a virtual training. It is open to the public. You can find the information below:

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 863 1994 5413
Passcode: 082517

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