Overdose Prevention Medicine Available at the Wilkes County Public Library

Overdose Prevention Medicine Available at the Wilkes County Public Library

Wednesday, 17 April 2024 11:27

by Suzanne Moore, Wilkes County Librarian

Addiction has a significant impact on both individuals and their loved ones. Its repercussions can cause emotional and physical pain, often leaving people feeling helpless and unsure about what to do. This can lead some to give up, walk away, or deny that the problem even exists. However, in today's world, where there is so much suffering and heartache, it is more important than ever to be a source of light and look for the good that may be difficult to find. Addiction also impacts the whole community.  Loss of employment, reduced productivity and increased burdens on public healthcare and safety are affected in areas with increased drug use. A supportive community can reduce the impact and save lives.

Some look at addiction as a moral failure, resulting from bad choices.  While bad choices play a role in addiction, no one sets out to be addicted.  The fact is a significant number of people struggle with addiction due to excessive prescription of pain medications, which in turn can lead to overdose.  When loss of life occurs, it is an undeniable tragedy, exacerbated by the destructive greed and inflated profits of the illicit drug market. 

The cycle of addiction begins with withdrawal symptoms that cause so much physical pain addicts use again.  Then the guilt associated with the way society sees addiction and disappointment in personal weakness can lead to using again . . . and again.

The Wilkes County Public Library is taking a proactive approach to combating opioid overdoses. Thanks to funding provided by the county’s opioid settlement grant the library has purchased a vending machine that dispenses overdose reversal medication, which is donated free of cost by Project Lazarus. This medicine is available to anyone who needs it or wants to have it on hand in an emergency. It's important to note that overdoses are often unintentional.

Devin Lyall, Executive Director of Recovery Revolution, states, "Our organization recognizes the lives being saved due to parent phone calls and individuals who have utilized our kits, and we appreciate the Library taking this initiative to expand access to community members. We believe that the only thing naloxone enables is life, and we should always choose life."

The library’s vending machine, located outside its Tenth Street entrance, provides access around the clock. Librarians manage the machine to ensure that it is always stocked. Each box of Narcan nasal spray comes with a label featuring a QR code that links to a survey for collecting anonymous data. Also included in the vending machine are Fentanyl test strips that will detect the presence of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, in street drugs.  The Wilkes County Crisis Intervention Team has also provided brochures about overdose signs and how to find someone to talk to, respond to, and somewhere to go. These crisis services are available at any time and any place for everyone. Every life is valuable, and one overdose death is one too many.

Save the date and come out for a ‘Lunch and Learn’ at the library on May 22, in partnership with Wilkes Health Foundation and Recovery Revolution.  At the event, we’ll share up-to-date resources and information on the prevention and treatment of opioid/stimulant misuse so that individuals, families, communities, and practitioners can easily access them and understand the issues related to misuse.