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Lifesaving training targets opioid overdoses

Douglas County Drug Prevention Coalition will teach residents how to spot the signs of overdose and administer medication to reverse effects.

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Lt. Jeff Kazel, commander of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, holds a dose of Narcan at the Duluth Police Department. (Clint Austin / 2019 file / News Tribune)

As the nation experiences historic numbers of overdose deaths, a local group is providing tools that could save a life.

The Douglas County Drug Prevention Coalition will host two virtual sessions of community Narcan training at 6:30 p.m. March 29 and noon March 30. Narcan (a brand name of naloxone) is a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The coalition has held annual prescription drug take-back events in Superior for years. This free training targets another facet of drug abuse.

“We have the resources and the ability to save people’s lives if we can train them how to use Narcan and get that into their hands,” said coalition member Jane Larson, a social worker at Superior High School.

Those who attend will learn how to spot the signs of an opioid overdose, respond to an overdose and administer naloxone to reverse the effects. Participants who complete either of the sessions will receive a kit of Narcan at no cost.


In 2019, the Superior Police Department responded to 45 overdose related incidents, six of which resulted in deaths. As of November, the department had responded to 55 overdose incidents in 2020. Of those, seven resulted in deaths.

Superior police officers have been carrying Narcan since 2017. Assistant Police Chief John Kiel said they have saved numerous lives by administering Narcan prior to paramedics arriving on scene.

"If the general public is going to purchase and carry Narcan or naloxone, they should learn how to properly administer it," Kiel said.

Over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States from May 2019 to May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One of the CDC’s key recommendations is to expand the distribution and use of naloxone and overdose prevention education.

Participants can register for the free virtual presentations by contacting Leanne Eisenhauer at 715-394-4009, clicking on the QR code below, or through a link on the Douglas County Drug Prevention Coalition Facebook site. Those unable to attend the virtual presentations can call Eisenhauer to set up a private training session.

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Community members can sign up for a free Narcan training session with this QR code. (Courtesy of the Douglas County Drug Prevention Coalition)

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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