NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — While locals and tourists alike are happy to be out and about after two years of dealing with COVID-19, the City of New Orleans is seeing an increase of opioid overdoses.
“We saw more than twice the number of overdoses between 2019 and 2021 here,” said Dana Wilkosz, Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Opioid Survival Program at the New Orleans Health Department.
So, to help keep people safe this summer, the health department is offering free bystander response training, which includes hands-only CPR, life threatening bleeding and particularly, opioid overdose.
“We are hearing of instances where folks are overdosing who are taking other recreational drugs, so fentanyl, which is a really powerful synthetic opioid, is ending up in other drugs like cocaine or methamphetamines,” said Wilkosz.
The New Orleans Health Department is offering the training to anyone who signs up, but is specifically interested in getting music venues involved.
“It’s already kind of ringing the bell of our security and our bar staff, they seem to be excited of just the idea of it,” said Branden Kempt.
Kempt owns Gasa Gasa, a music venue on Freret Street. He told us he’s just hearing about the training and says he thinks its a great idea.
“It would be remarkable to have the ability to respond to something like this,” said Kempt.
During the training, attendees will learn first hand how to administer Narcan, a lifesaving drug that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.
“You just gently insert this into one nostril, hit the plunger administer the entire dose. That’s it,” said Wilkosz.
One of the great things about the program is that it’s free, but more importantly, it has the potential to save a life.
If you or your business is interested in signing up for the free bystander response training, go to https://ready.nola.gov/stay-connected/training/