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'Every overdose death is a preventable death' | Health leaders offer free naloxone to fight against opioid epidemic

Free naloxone kits can be picked up at Guilford County Health Department, GCSTOP, or Triad Adult & Pediatric Medicine locations.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Health leaders in Guilford County are working to save more lives in the fight against opioid overdoses. 

Through a partnership between GCSTOP (Guilford County Solution To the Opioid Problem), the Guilford County Health Department, and Triad Adult & Pediatric Medicine, free naloxone kits will be offered at some locations.

Dr. Melissa Floyd-Pickard, a professor at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and principal investigator at GCSTOP  said carrying naloxone, also known as Narcan, can help prevent overdoses.

"If you have it and know how to use it then the chances of somebody living to tell the tale are a lot higher because no one goes to treatment if they’re dead. So, we always encourage people to carry naloxone and to know how to use it," she said.

Through the campaign, public service announcements will be running. Dr. Floyd-Pickard said the increase in overdose numbers during the pandemic is concerning.

"With the pandemic, the increased isolation, we're seeing a real spike in numbers and then there’s another spike with the deaths so you have the number of overdoses and the number of deaths out of those overdoses," she said.

That reflects in some of the numbers coming from police departments. 

Greensboro Police said there were 102 overdoses and 18 deaths between January and March of 2020. Those numbers grew to 158 overdoses and 25 deaths for that same timeframe in 2021 and even higher to 163 overdoses and 31 deaths so far in 2022. 

She said even if you don't know anyone in your life that suffers from drug use, you just never know when you'll need it.

"Just have it in your glove compartment because you’ll never know when you’ll be able to save a life," she said, "The nature of drug use and drug addiction is very lonely so a lot of times people will be in hotels or a bathroom at a gas station or a restaurant so you just never know when you might encounter that."

Floyd-Pickard said Narcan only works if someone has opioids in their system, and can't harm anyone otherwise. 

The Guilford County Health Department has signs that indicate an overdose listed on its website

Greensboro Locations

  • Guilford County Division of Public Health Pharmacy: 1100 East Wendover Avenue
  • Triad Adult & Pediatric Medicine: 1002 S. Eugene Street

High Point Locations 

  • Guilford County Division of Public Health Pharmacy: 501 East Green Drive
  • Kaitlyn's House: 410 Gatewood Avenue: (Tuesday and Friday) 
  • Triad Adult & Pediatric Medicine: 606 N. Elm 

Floyd-Pickard said each kit comes with an alcohol swab and two doses of naloxone. 

"You would open the syringe and just draw up the entire contents," she said, "You just inject it into their thigh or their arm. Somewhere where there’s meat on their body, but you don’t jab it. It's not an EpiPen. You administer it and then you wait and that’s the hardest part is that you have to wait before you give another dose."

She said it's important to immediately call 911 after administering the first dose. 

"I would encourage people not to really be afraid to try it. It can't hurt somebody and it can make a big difference. It's not enabling," she said.

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