More Narcan Trainings Coming to Philadelphia via Health Partners Plans-DBHIDS Partnership

On Monday, July 12, Health Partner Plans (HPP) announced their partnership with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Services (DBHIDS) to provide overdose prevention training.

Health Partners Plan is a nonprofit health maintenance organization that serves more than 280,000 members in multiple counties in Pennsylvania, including Bucks, Montgomery, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill.

DBHIDS provides behavioral health care, developmental disability support, and early intervention services in Philadelphia so residents can take charge of their health and well-being.

Substance use disorder, specifically linked to the use of opioids such as heroin and oxycodone, is a protracted epidemic in the United States.

In 2018, two out of three overdose deaths involved an opioid.

The following year, approximately 10.1 million Americans age 12 or older have abused opioids and more than 760,000 people have died from drug overdoses since 1999, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

In 2018 in Philadelphia, more than 1,000 people died from drug overdoses, and about 84% of them involved opioid use.

This is an issue that impacts health at the individual and community level, which is why HPP and DBHIDS have teamed up to tackle the crisis from a personal perspective. harm reduction perspective thanks to monthly Narcan training.

Naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan, is a life-saving medicine. When given, it works quickly to reverse an opioid overdose.

It serves as an “opioid antagonist”, attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and reversing the effects. Narcan can quickly restore a person’s natural breathing function if they have slowed down or stopped.

Often one of the biggest battles in coping with this health crisis is dealing with the stigma attached to substance use disorder.

According to Sarah Grzyb, Director of Communications at HPP, education is the first step to reducing stigma and saving lives.

“Increased access to Narcan and proper training on how to administer it are key tools to help fight the opioid crisis,” Grzyb told AL DÍA.

Opioid overdoses can happen anywhere and anytime, but they are preventable. Even in the absence of emergency medical services (EMS), ordinary citizens of Philadelphia can administer Narcan in public spaces and save lives.

“Knowing how to administer Narcan can really mean the difference between life and death, especially while waiting for EMS to arrive,” Gryzb said.

The intentions of the partnership are to help improve health outcomes and build community awareness of education. With greater access to training opportunities, more community members will be able to respond quickly and confidently to opioid overdoses.

“During the trainings, participants will learn to recognize harm reduction approaches to high-risk behaviors, protocols for administering Narcan, and the importance of Good Samaritan Act and its impact on assisting those in need,” Gryzb explained.

HPP and DBHIDS believe in the harm reduction approach because many people with substance use disorders are unwilling or unable to abstain from drug use.

Harm reduction education, Gryzb said, provides valuable and lifesaving information to substance users and those who may be able to treat them.

“By providing community members with practical strategies to respond to opioid overdoses, we reduce harm, minimize the negative consequences of drug use, and ultimately save lives in certain situations,” a- she declared.

The City has already trained several HPP employees through its “train the trainer” program. As for its next steps, HPP will offer this training to all employees starting in September, which is National Recovery Month.

In October, HPP will partner with community organizations to initiate training for local members and residents during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

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