Narcan training and distribution April 7 in West Jeff

(Posted March 15, 2018)

By Kristy Zurbrick. Madison Editor

The West Jeff Advocacy Group is hosting a training to give individuals the knowledge and tools to save someone from dying of an opioid overdose.

The training, known as Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone), is set for 12 to 3 p.m. April 7 at the West Jefferson Community Center, a former church at 221 S. Center St. The event is free and open to the public.

Project Dawn, coordinated through the Ohio Department of Health, is a community-based overdose education and Naloxone (Narcan) distribution program. Partners from Mount Carmel Health will lead the training and a question-and-answer session, after which they will distribute Narcan kits.

Narcan is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug, such as heroin or prescription pain medicine. Its sole purpose is to reverse the effects of opioids to prevent overdose deaths. The Narcan distributed at the training comes in a nasal spray form.

“It won’t cause harm if it turns out the person is not having an overdose. It will only help if someone has overdosed on opiates/heroin,” said Samantha Cahill, West Jeff Advocacy Group chair.

Cahill took the Project Dawn training last year and says she carries the knowledge, as well as Narcan, with her everywhere she goes. She also carries with her inspiration provided by her son, a recovering addict who is now six years clean.

Participants in the Project DAWN training can expect to learn:

– how to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose;

– how to distinguish between different types of overdoses;

– how to perform rescue breathing;

– how and when to call emergency medical services; and

– how to administer intranasal Narcan.

“All over the state of Ohio, we’re losing a whole generation of young people to the opioid epidemic,” said Scott Vanderkarr, a former Franklin County drug court judge and member of the West Jeff Advocacy Group.

A life saved through the administration of Narcan is a person who, with follow-up support and resources, can go on to raise his or her own children, hold down a job, and move forward as a contributing member of society, Vanderkarr said.

“It’s about saving lives and changing lives,” he said.

The West Jeff Advocacy Group is one of those resources. Formed about two years ago, the group describes itself as a “community resource for people dealing with the disease of addiction.”

“When it happened to us, we didn’t know where to go,” Cahill said. “Our group is trying to help people make connections so they can get the help they need.”

In addition to providing information and referrals, the group presents community education programs, like Operation Street Smart created by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Presented last year at West Jefferson High School, Street Smart provides people who deal with today’s youth with current information on trends, terminology, paraphernalia and physiological effects associated with narcotics.

The upcoming Project DAWN training is another way the group is reaching out to inform and equip the community to understand and address drug issues.

The West Jeff Advocacy Group meets at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the West Jefferson Community Center. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Registration is not required for the Project DAWN training, but RSVPs are appreciated. To RSVP or for more information, look for “West Jeff Advocacy Group” on Facebook or email

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