As the opioid epidemic rages, the world community has looked for answers to saving lives and providing a path to recovery for those that are affected. We are proud to support:
It is possible to lower that grim statistic with training that allows friends, family, healthcare and social service workers, law enforcement and emergency responders to recognize the signs of overdose and the steps to administering naloxone, a lifesaving medication. By temporarily reversing the effects of opioid overdose, proper administration of naloxone (Narcan) saves lives. What it takes is awareness and training. That’s what today’s awareness campaign is all about.
Recognizing the need for overdose prevention training at SMH, Nadine Scamp, CEO and Lucia DE Paloli, Senior Director of Programs at Jacquelyn House were thrilled to learn of services available from a new group founded in December of 2013 by retired state employees and colleagues Mark Kinzly and Charles Thibodeaux. The Texas Overdose and Naloxone Initiative (TONI) has been a vital partner ever since, providing training for family members, clients and staff on a regular basis. TONI also provides the lifesaving kits, dosages of Naloxone, that go home with our clients as they leave treatment.
Santa Maria is not alone in benefitting from the expertise and generosity of TONI. Mark and Charles’ efforts have served to educate organizations and communities across the state of Texas. TONI is dedicated to educating the public about overdose prevention and community support for the state of Texas and making life-saving medication more available to the opioid using population. As a result of these efforts, there have been over 600 overdose reversals since 2013.
“80% of all those who live after overdose are saved by another drug user or a family member, says Charles Thibodeaux. That’s why getting in front of the clients at SMH and their families is so valuable. Every time we get to train just five users on recognizing overdose and the use of naloxone, no doubt lives are saved. We have been working with the residents and staff of Santa Maria since our inception. Santa Maria has always been on my heroes list.”
Our latest training was just completed on August 21. Clients and staff sat side by side to learn the very important identification signs of overdose and the proper techniques for the administration of Naloxone.
COVID -19 Pushes and Fuels Addiction
The recent training could not have been more timely. In the middle of a pandemic, relapse and overdose are on the rise. The recovery community has been specifically hampered from important meetings and gatherings that are a hallmark of building resiliency for those affected by substance use.
“Substance use disorder is a disease of isolation and separation. COVID pushes those feelings and fuels the addiction,” says Charles Thibodeaux.
The vigilance of the SMH staff in recognizing the particular challenges brought about by social distancing is crucial to pulling our clients and graduates close. Amelia Murphy, Senior Director of Recovery Support Services for SMH said, “Alongside the clinical team, our recovery coaches have kept close contact with our vulnerable peers. We were joined in this effort by our prevention team. COVID-19 has been a particular kind of threat to our community. We have relied on extensive training and thank not only TONI, but the Texas Harm Reduction Alliance for their guidance, as well. The staff and especially the clients of Santa Maria are fortunate because not everyone has these services available to them. It is in situations like these that training and communication become vital for saving lives.”