The inaugural ‘Save a Life: Free Narcan Day’ is held throughout Tioga County

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 12:11 AM EDT
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OWEGO (WBNG) - September 14 marked the first “Save a Life: Free Narcan Day” for Tioga County. While the designated day of outreach is new for the Southern Tier county, the effort began in 2020 in West Virginia.

“The original organizers actually put out an email and really were trying to get sites across all 13 states in the region to participate,” said Tioga County Public Health Senior Public Health Educator Kylie Holochak. “They wanted at least one Narcan training in each state.”

Thursday’s organized effort, according to Holochak, was to educate residents about how to properly administer naloxone and to get the tool into more hands. Porshea Moore, one person on-hand to educate residents, stressed the training takes minutes to complete.

North Avenue’s CASA-Trinity was one of the many county training sites. Others were held at The Red Door, Newark Valley Village Gazebo and more.

“We were out at the Spencer Food Cupboard. Just out there in that community, we got 42 Narcan kits out, which is absolutely amazing,” said Holochak. “Even if one of those kits is used to save a life, then this day was a huge success.”

Holochak recognized the stigma with the overall topic, but highlighted it’s all about being equipped ahead of time with the knowledge and resources to help anyone you come in contact with.

“A family member, a friend, a co-worker, somebody who actually is actively using,” said Holochak. “Anybody can be affected by this.”

Apart from this designated day, Tioga County has resources all year to help prevent deaths. For example, on a regular basis, Narcan can be accessed at places like CASA-Trinity, Tioga County Public Health, Tioga County Mental Hygiene and various pharmacies. In the future, the hope is to spread out the Narcan boxes to more sites.

“More recently, the coalition has put up several public access Narcan boxes,” said Holochak. “Those are in various locations around the county, including some of the county buildings, different businesses, some of the shelters.”

Holochak said there’s no overdose spike at the moment, but if it happens, there’s a ‘spike alerts program’ via phone. Subscribers would be notified via text if fentanyl or another substance is being found in the county or region. To subscribe, text ENDODNY to 55753.