By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County has been chosen by the Ohio Department of Health to be Ohio’s first Community-Based Naloxone Overdose Reversal Project. The program is funded by the ODH and will be administered through the Portsmouth City Health Department.
According to the Federal Drug Administration, Naloxone is a synthetic drug, similar to morphine, that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system.
Lisa Roberts, public health nurse with the Portsmouth Health Department, said programs such as the Overdose Reversal Project are offered throughout the United States.
Roberts said Project Lazarus in North Carolina is similar to the one planned for Portsmouth.
“Naloxone (a.k.a. Narcan) reverses the effects of an overdose. It (Naloxone) allows them to gain time so EMTs have time to get there,” Roberts said. “This drug has saved a lot of lives.”
Roberts said she is hopeful that once the program is established in Portsmouth it can be duplicated throughout the state.
“This is a good thing for Scioto County because we get to be the leader and set the stage for what the rest of the state does. We were asked to do this and they (Ohio Department of Health) will be providing funding, we will be setting the stage and establishing a program that has the potential to be replicated throughout the state,” Roberts said.
She said the city health department will be working with the State Medical Board of Ohio to establish policies and procedures for the program.
Roberts said since the Portsmouth Health Department is establishing the program that will be used throughout Ohio, they get to name it. The program is being named after Leslie Dawn Cooper, the daughter of Barbara Howard. Cooper lost her life to prescription drug overdose.
The program will be called “Rise at DAWN — Deaths Avoided With Naloxone.”
“I am very honored that the health department chose to name the program after my daughter,” Howard said. “If this program helps save lives then it’s what’s meant to be.”
Roberts said the health department hopes to have the program underway in the next couple of months.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.