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Learning to administer Narcan

Naloxone; Image courtesy MGN Online.

When someone overdoses on heroin, minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

You've likely heard of the drug Narcan, which can reverse an opiate overdose and save those precious minutes. FOX 11 attended a Narcan training Tuesday to find out how it's used.

Julie Schmidt knows first-hand the devastation of opiate addiction. Her 21-year-old son is an addict working on recovery.

"You actually, like, stop and pause and say a little prayer before you open the door each time and when they're breathing you're so happy," Schmidt told FOX 11.

Schmidt is from Omro. She told us two of her friends have lost children to heroin overdoses.

"If there's any chance I could help and make a difference I would really wanna do so," Schmidt said.

So she attended a public Narcan training session Tuesday in Oshkosh.

Scott Stokes with the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin taught the signs of an opiate overdose and how to respond, starting with calling 911.

"How to provide rescue breathing and how to administer Naloxone," Stokes explained.

Naloxone is the generic name for Narcan.

Stokes gave out doses of the drug to attendees. It needs to be injected directly into a muscle to reverse an opiate overdose. The effects last about 30 minutes, afterward the victim can sometimes fall back into the overdose, requiring more Narcan.

Stokes points out the medication is safe.

"If a child was to get a hold of it and ingest it it's not gonna harm the child. It is only an opiate blocker," Stokes told FOX 11.

Stokes told us the resource center is doing about 2,000 of these trainings a year. He said the center bought 16,000 doses of Naloxone in 2015 and ran out of them. 1,100 people reported using them last year to revive a friend or family member.

"We're trying to keep people alive. You know? Ideally we would like to see folks get into some kind of treatment services and they can't do that if they die," Stokes explained.

Schmidt said having this new knowledge is power.

"It makes you feel a little less helpless. I mean, basically, as a parent you're fighting a battle that's not yours," she explained.

Now Schmidt told us she'll have one more tool to help that battle.

There will be another training this Thursday evening at the Neenah Public library.

The Oshkosh Police Department is one organization sponsoring these training sessions

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