MCARTHUR — Last Tuesday, Aug. 31, was Overdose Awareness Day in Ohio, and the Vinton County Health Department and the Vinton County Prevention and Recovery Coalition held an event outside the courthouse in McArthur to distribute Narcan kits and raise awareness about overdose deaths in the state.

Vinton and Jackson Counties currently rank second and seventh, respectively, for overdose death rates in Ohio, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health. So far this year, seven overdose deaths have been reported in Vinton County and 12 have been reported in Jackson County.

The active ingredient in Narcan, naloxone, is used to reverse the effect of opioids, and each narcan kit provided comes with two doses, which are squirted into each nostril.

“One of the problems with opioids is they depress a person’s breathing ability — they take it away — especially something like fentanyl, which is extremely toxic,” said Susan Urban, a public health nurse from the VCHD. “When you give someone narcan, it cancels out the opioid. Then the person can start breathing again and not die from the effects of the overdose.”

Urban was pleased with how the event went, adding that she hopes similar events are scheduled in the future.

“I hope that this is the first of many overdose awareness days where we can continue to give people an opportunity to learn about it to reduce the stigma that is still associated with persons with a substance use disorder and overdose,” she said.

“We’ve got many years of work ahead of us to do, so I’m hoping this is the first of many years of this event.”

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