VIRGINIA BEACH — The opioid epidemic is sweeping the nation and among the calls for action are the government sponsored Revive! courses available through the Department of Human Services.
But just how badly are those courses needed in the city?
The Virginia Department of Health keeps track of all opioid overdoses by city from 2007 to July 2019.
In Virginia Beach there have been 467 fatal opioid overdoses recorded by the VDH since 2007, according the department’s data.
In 2018 there were 47 and 2017 there were 62. So far this year, nine opioid overdoses-related deaths have been reported.
The purpose of Revive! courses are to equip people to become more than just bystanders when someone in the vicinity is overdosing, said LeAnne Brant, supervisor for the city’s Office of Consumer and Family Affairs.
It gives people the tools they need to properly respond and give somebody naloxone which can reverse the effects of an overdose, Brant said.
The city has been giving the courses since April 2016 and 395 people to date have participated, she said.
While the classes aren’t providing people with naloxone to keep on hand just in case, Brant hopes the Department of Human Services will be able to provide some in the future.
There are several routes for individuals in Virginia to access naloxone, said Kaitlyn Mondejar, population health manager for the city’s Department of Public Health.
Those include the following:
- Via prescription from their private physician.
- Through the Commissioner of Health’s standing order under the Public Health Emergency declaration, any individual is authorized to purchase naloxone at any pharmacy in the state. The commissioner’s standing order functions as a prescription sufficient to acquire medication.
- VDH has acquired naloxone in the form of Narcan in limited quantities to make available to at risk individuals (i.e. risk for IV drug use or substance use disorder) or their household members at no cost. This medication is intended to ensure access for individuals who otherwise may not be able to afford or have access to medication through their local pharmacy. This dispensing and distribution is available through local health departments.
- Contact the administrative office at 757-518-2672 for an appointment. This will ensure that a physician is available at Virginia Beach and that services can be efficiently provided.
- Ensure that patients bring their Revive! card with them.
Individuals or household members (family, partner, or friends) who are high risk for opioid dependency and overdose, can receive free Narcan through the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health
For more information on Revive! training and Narcan, click here.