Medication Bag

 The Lorain Public Library System will be having system-wide programming beginning Feb. 25 to bring awareness to prescription opioid abuse and overdose education through partnerships with the Cleveland Clinic and Lorain County Public Health.

All six branches will host a Cleveland Clinic caregiver as part of the “Start Talking! Rx Opioid Abuse” program, which is presented in collaboration with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Office.

Cleveland Clinic Program Manager Colleen Jost said the one-hour long, informal presentation aimed at teens and adults will give participants an opportunity to have a conversation with a Cleveland Clinic health expert about ways to keep their family and community safe from addiction.

Jost said it will cover the following: current statistics and trends of the opioid epidemic; how to recognize when someone is abusing opioids and how to provide them help; how to properly dispose of prescription medications; how to start talking about addiction and lift the stigma of substance use disorders.

“Opioid abuse is not just a person shooting up heroin or taking too many Percocet,” she said. “The opioids fentanyl and carfentanil are being added to illegal drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and fake prescription pills. Because of this, a whole new population of drug abusers are being exposed to addictive and deadly opioids.”

Jost said earlier this month, the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office issued a public health warning about carfentanil being found in fake prescription pills, which led to one of the deadliest months for overdose deaths ever in Cuyahoga County.

“The opioid epidemic is ever changing and still very deadly,” she said. “Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County will be at the presentations introducing a new collaboration with the Lorain Public Libraries. The public can access medication disposal pouches and medication safes free of charge at the libraries.”

“Start Talking! Rx Opioid Abuse” will happen at the following times and dates:

Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., Avon Branch

Feb. 26 at 4:30 p.m., South Lorain Branch

Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m., Domonkas Branch

Feb. 27 at 5 p.m., Columbia Branch

Feb. 28 at 6 p.m., Main Branch

Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m., North Ridgeville Branch

The Lorain Public Library System’s branches will also host “Project DAWN Training,” which is part of a partnership with Lorain County Public Health as a community-based overdose education and naloxone distribution.

Pamela Weiland, Community Health Nursing Supervisor with Lorain County Public Health, said participants in the program will receive training on learning who is at risk from an opioid overdose, recognizing the signs and symptoms of an overdose, performing rescue breathing, calling emergency medical services and how to administer intranasal naloxone.

“With the increased number of opioid overdoses and deaths from opioids, there was an urgent need to expand access to the antidote,” she said. “It makes sense to have naloxone on hand if you are a friend, family member, or community member who comes into contact with people at risk for overdose.”

Weiland said Lorain County Public Health will be providing Project DAWN kits to participants for free and funding is provided by Ohio Department of Health and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board through a First Response – Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act grant. 

“Project DAWN Training” will happen at the following times and dates:

Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m., North Ridgeville Branch

Feb. 26 at 3:30 p.m., Main Branch

Feb. 27 at 3 p.m., Domonkas Branch

Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m., Columbia Branch

Feb. 28 at 2 p.m., South Lorain Branch

Feb. 28 at 7 p.m., Avon Branch

Medication disposal pouches and locking medicine bags are also now available for free upon request at all of the Lorain Public Library System locations through a partnership with the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board.

When drugs are placed in the disposal pouches with water, the drugs are deactivated and may be placed in the regular trash. The bag is biodegradable, making it an environmentally responsible way to dispose of the drugs, and the locking bags have locks and are lined with Kevlar, making them fire resistant and difficult to cut.