Santa Clara Co. launches opioid overdose prevention, naloxone training at libraries

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Monday, August 7, 2023
Santa Clara Co. libraries offer opioid overdose prevention training
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Santa Clara County is making a major push to get naloxone spray into the hands of the public, launching a campaign through its library system.

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (KGO) -- As drug overdose deaths continue climbing, Santa Clara County is making a major push to get life-saving naloxone spray into the hands of as many people as possible, launching a campaign through its library system.

"By bringing information like this to the library district, we empower our residents to act until EMS and other officials can get to us," said Anjanette DeVito, a nurse manager helping lead Santa Clara County's opioid overdose prevent project.

Dozens of boxes of Narcan were handed out free Sunday at the Los Altos Library, where around a hundred community members gathered to learn about everything from how to identify fake prescription pills to overdose symptoms.

"Well, my mom sent me the ad, and I just thought it was interesting they were giving away free naloxone," said Ian Singer, a student at San Jose State University. "There a lot of people doing fentanyl around there and a lot of people dying fast, so I felt that maybe having that on me would probably helps someone."

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Fentanyl-related overdose deaths have more than doubled in the county in just one month -- from 17 in April to 41 in May. And, according to the CDC, the number of teenagers who've died from fentanyl has tripled in the past two years.

"Just basically I wanted to know that, if I were ever at a party or social scene where some crisis happened, I would be able to respond accordingly," said UCSC student Defne Clarke.

"I have a teenage son who might be exposed to this at some point, or his friends might, and I just want to make sure we get as many people educated as we can," said Los Altos resident Betsy Slattery.

"We've made a concerted effort to get Naloxone into the schools and libraries are another trusted venue, where so many of our staff have stepped up and said they'll take the training," said Supervisor Joe Simitian.

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Meanwhile Slattery says she'll be putting a box of Narcan in her son's backpack when he goes back to school, and she hopes others do the same.

"It's frightening and when there's something as easy as this medication, it seems we should try to get it in as many people's hands as we can," she said.

More information on upcoming naloxone training sessions in Santa Clara County can be found on the Library District website.

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