Richmond-Henrico Health District issues spike alert due to rise in overdoses

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) -The Richmond-Henrico Health District has issued a surge alert following a recent spike in overdoses. They want to make sure people know what to do if they think someone has overdosed. The health district issues these alerts in an effort to engage communities in efforts to reduce overdoses. Part of that effort is knowing how to help people who have overdosed and also being aware of who to call if you see something alarming.

The Richmond Ambulance Authority said they rely on the opioid alert system to help give them a better idea of ​​how to respond to overdose calls.

“It helps us better track and be more alert and let our providers know that there’s an increase in overdoses and just be alert for those situations and be more prepared for them,” said Chad Greedan of who works as the Director of Field Operations for the Richmond Ambulance Authority.

The RAA also relies on community members to report overdoses. Part of this is knowing which people are most vulnerable, such as people who use alone, have overdosed before, or who use drugs after not using them for a while.

“Any person who is extremely young or extremely old is at higher risk for any type of drug overdose,” Greedan explained.

The warning signs of an overdose can be easy to spot if you know what to look for. Gray or blue fingertips and snoring or gurgling are all danger signs.

“When you get close to them and you can’t even wake them up by talking to them or shaking them, that’s the most dangerous sign,” Greedan said.

If you have it, you can administer naloxone to reverse the effects of an overdose or call 911.

“Firefighters and paramedics are the ones who can administer Narcan, and there are other ways like IVs that will take effect faster,” Greedan said.

Several different area organizations offer free naloxone and training on how to use it. RHHD has virtual Zoom sessions on the first Tuesday of the month at 7pm and the last Thursday of the month at the same time.

You can also get free naloxone and training from the Chesterfield Community Services Board and Henrico Mental Health and Developmental Services.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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