Independent Perspective 1680 with Gretchen Vinson on NARCON Trainings.
Host: Welcome to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of Western New York Independent Living (WNYIL). Our guest today is Gretchen Vinson, Addict 2 Addict Peer Support Specialist Navigator with Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC). And your host is yours truly Ernie Churchwell. Welcome to the program Gretchen.
Guest: Thank you for having me.
Host: If people have been paying attention to the news for the last few months, they probably know that the number of deaths from substance abuse overdoses has gone up since the beginning of the pandemic of COVID-19. Would you say that's responsible to a certain degree for that?
Guest: Yes, it has. The pandemic has hit this population very hard. And we have seen an increase in overdose deaths and just overdose.
Host: Ah, well, of course, that's a shame but you happen to have some good news for people on that front because the agency offers training with Narcan. Could you tell people what that is and what it does for people with overdoses?
Guest: Sure. Narcan is the generic name for Naloxone. And what that does is actually if somebody has overdosed and you administer Narcan, it brings them back mainly to life. It puts them in automatic withdrawal, but it also brings them back from the brink of death. It's a miracle drug. It's a wonderful drug. And it is saving lives and we offer free training open to the public. Anybody can come in the first Thursday of every month at 3:00 p.m. They just come to Western New York Independent Living at 3108 Main Street and let the receptionist know that they are here for the Narcan training.
Host: All right, and we might mention to people that the 3108 Main Street storefront is not an entrance, they would have to enter from the off-street parking lot and go in the middle or back doors.
Guest: Yes. Right behind Jim’s Steakout.
Host: From what you say it sounds like you don't require a pre-registration for people to go to the training?
Guest: No, they can come in, but if they want to call ahead of time, that's fine too. They can call our hotline 24 hours a day, for any reason, any kind of help that they want with substance use disorder or for the training, and that number is 716-836-2726. And all calls are returned between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. 365 days a year.
Host: That's great, although I'm sure this question is covered in the training. Those listening may wonder; do I dare give a Narcan treatment if I'm not sure that someone is actually in opioid overdose?
Guest: Yes, you can administer it. It will not harm it won't hurt anybody. The most that will happen is that the inside of their nose gets wet. It's not going to harm them in any way.
Host: And something which has occasionally been brought up the fact that opioids are illegal substances, and you don't know exactly what's in what you get. That is led to dilution of the opioids with other more serious drugs. Could you tell us about that?
Guest: Right. Yes, most of the drugs have a very strong opioid in them, which is fentanyl, which is causing all these deaths. Most of the street drugs that anybody were to buy is got fentanyl in it and it is mixed in everything today. So even people who are cocaine abusers, crack abusers, they are finding fentanyl in that as well. So that's what's causing the increase.
Host: So, it's being diluted with a cheap laboratory drug, which is actually more dangerous. But yet, from what I've heard, some addicts actually welcome the possibility of a more serious drug in what they're getting. So that can be a problem too. In the remaining seconds in case someone didn't have a pencil handy. Could you repeat that phone number please?
Guest: That phone number is the Addict 2 Addict phone line, it is 716-836-2726. And it is answered 24 hours a day for any kind of help having to do with substance use disorder.
Host: Thanks so much for being with us Gretchen.
Guest: Thank you for having me Ernie.
Host: You've been listening to Independent Perspective, a public affairs presentation of WNYIL. Our guest today was Gretchen Vinson, Addict 2 Addict Peer Support Specialist Navigator with MHPC. And your host was yours truly Ernie Churchwell.