ST. IGNATIUS - Opioid drug overdoses and deaths have been a growing problem across Montana in the last few years according to Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.
It's not just larger cities impacted by the drug crisis, but also our small communities, and one town on the Flathead Reservation that is taking matters into its own hands.
The St. Ignatius Volunteer Fire Department hosted a free training event to teach people about the signs of an overdose, as well as the proper way to give Narcan to someone suffering from an overdose.
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“The Naloxone training...is used to prevent death on someone who has overdosed,” explained Assistant Fire Chief Paul Adams.
Adams — along with St. Ignatius Fire Chief Reese Bailey — spoke to a class about Narcan kits and how to use them.
After completing the training, participants will be certified in Narcan deployment and able to order a Narcan kit for themselves.
The kits include one or both types of nasal administered Naloxone.
Bailey says the trainings are becoming more popular in small communities as the opioid crisis continues.
"So, the Narcan training is a good thing that is getting more and more popular in our smaller communities as far as giving people a way to battle these opioid overdoses.”
Chief Bailey says he eventually hopes to see most St. Ignatius residents owning a Narcan kit.
He noted that some small communities have problems recruiting volunteers for firefighter or EMT positions, so it’s important that people know what to do as they wait for help to arrive.
“It’s unfortunate it seems that volunteers are getting harder to come by as far as some of your volunteer fire service and EMS type personnel, which unfortunately also means that help is a little bit farther out than we’d like to see it, especially in the very rural areas.”
Naloxone and Narcan reference the same substance.
To find a Naloxone training event near you can visit Best Medicine's website.
To learn more about Naloxone in Montana, visit the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services website.
Below is a list of community providers in Western Montana:
- Salish and Kootenai Tribal Health in St. Ignatius
- Polson Health Center
- Sky Counseling PLLC in Missoula
- Western Montana Mental Health Center in Missoula
- Open Aid Alliance in Missoula
- Oxytocin, LLC in Kalispell
- Flathead Syringe Exchange in Kalispell