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Orange County To Distribute Overdose Prevention Kits

Prescription drugs at a pharmacy.
Aunti P via Flickr, Creative Commons

Orange County health officials say they will soon begin distributing kits that will help to prevent certain drug overdoses. 

State legislators passed a law that allows the drug Naloxone to be prescribed to patients.  Naloxone can reverse overdoses caused by painkillers like Oxycontin and hydrocodone.  

Orange County health director Colleen Bridger says making the kits available can help reduce what was a high number of deaths in the state since 1999 from abuse of these powerful pain medications.

"There are 1,100 people in North Carolina who died from unintentional poisoning.  Now, how many of them could have been prevented by Naloxone, we're not sure," Bridger says. 

"What we do know is that (in) 80 percent of that 1,100 people, the drug that was used was an opiate drug."

Bridger says the law allows people close to those hooked on the drugs to be trained on how to use Naloxone.  It also provides a benefit for those helpers.

"It provides some protection for people who administer Naloxone and who also call 911 to get assistance for people who they think have overdosed because people were afraid to call in authorities for help because they themselves had been using drugs or there was drug paraphernalia in the house and they didn't want to be charged with possession," she says.

Naloxone kits will be available starting in December.

Gurnal Scott joined North Carolina Public Radio in March 2012 after several stops in radio and television. After graduating from the College of Charleston in his South Carolina hometown, he began his career in radio there. He started as a sports reporter at News/Talk Radio WTMA and won five Sportscaster of the Year awards. In 1997, Gurnal moved on to television as general assignment reporter and weekend anchor for WCSC-TV in Charleston. He anchored the market's top-rated weekend newscasts until leaving Charleston for Memphis, TN in 2002. Gurnal worked at WPTY-TV for two years before returning to his roots in radio. He joined the staff of Memphis' NewsRadio 600 WREC in 2004 eventually rising to News Director. In 2006, Raleigh news radio station WPTF came calling and he became the station's chief correspondent. Gurnal’s reporting has been honored by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association, the North Carolina Associated Press, and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.
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