PDT Staff Writer
Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided with Naloxone) has credited with saving its 14th life recently according to Lisa Roberts, Public Health Nurse with the Portsmouth City Health Department.
In 2012, the Portsmouth City Health Department was chosen by the Ohio Department of Health to be Ohio’s first Community-Based Naloxone Overdose Reversal Project. Project DAWN started in 2012.
The program is funded with seed money from the ODH and administered by 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.
Participants of the program are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose and able to distinguish between types of overdoes. Participants also learn how to properly administer Naloxone.
“People need to realize we’re dealing dealing with people (through this program) who have been addicted for 10 and 15 years. They are not going to get off the stuff just like that. It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of time,” Roberts said.
Other communities in the state have begun to adopt similar programs based on the model the Portsmouth Health Department has developed.
“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,” Roberts said. “We’re setting the stage and establishing a program that has the potential to be replicated throughout the state.”
Roberts said one of the goals of the program was to convince people to abandon their reluctance to call an ambulance and get a person help if they are in a bad situation.
“Sometimes people are in the company of drug activity and are reluctant to call the ambulance or the law,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the health department has been working with the state medical board to establish policies and procedures for the program.
The Portsmouth Health Department was asked to name the program since it was the first site. The program is named after Leslie Dawn Cooper, the daughter of Barbara Howard. Cooper lost her life to prescription drug overdose.
Roberts said she and others are working with State Rep. Dr. Terry Johnson on legislation for this program.
“We’re working on some efforts to get Naloxone legislation, to make it easier for people to access it. We hope to have something solid this year,” Roberts said.
For more information call Roberts at 740-353-5153 or visit www.healthyohioprogram.org/vipp/drug/ProjectDAWN.aspx.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.