D.C. will deliver free Narcan kits to residents and businesses — and show people how to use the drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Last year, 344 people died from drug overdoses in D.C., and the rate of overdoses in America continues to climb, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That's why the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health provides free Narcan kits in the hopes of preventing such deaths.
Officials say D.C. police and medics have used the kits more than 200 times just in the past few months.
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"That's 257 lives saved that would have been lost," Director of the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health Dr. Barbara Bazron said.
Previously, residents could access the kits through pharmacies and community outreach groups. But now, residents and businesses can get them delivered to their doorstep.
D.C. residents and businesses can text LiveLongDC to 888-811 to get a free kit delivered.
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An expert who delivers the kits demonstrates how to use them properly.
"We've given out over 57,000 kits, which is a 78% increase over last year," Bazron said.
Bazron said some of the warning signs of an overdose include pin-point pupils, blue around the nails and lips, cold skin, sleepiness or the person is hard to wake.
If someone is overdosing she said to take the following steps:
- Call 911
- Lay the person on their back
- Support their head
- Spray the Narcan directly into their nose
- Turn the person on their side and try to wake them
- Administer another dose if the person doesn't wake after 2-3 minutes
The kits have a shelf life of about two years and each kit has two inhalers.
There are programs for free Narcan kits in most jurisdictions, including Maryland and Virginia. Go here to find free kits in your area.