A big part of our work at Harm Reduction Center (HARC) is educating our community about the importance and application of harm reduction. Recently, HARC met with the local synagogue Temple Beth El in West Palm Beach to provide a Narcan in-service. Our team was introduced to this opportunity by Dr. Alan Goodwin who has functioned as a large part of community awareness regarding substance abuse, harm reduction, and education.
Daniel Allen and HARC’s Director of Business Development, Jared DiCianno, were able to share their experience in the substance abuse treatment field along with HARC’s philosophy about harm reduction; that the quality of one’s sobriety has to be individual and measured by the improvement of one’s quality of life. Jared DiCianno demonstrated how to properly administer intranasal and intramuscular Narcan injection to counteract an overdose.
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It’s important to understand the importance of the life-saving drug, especially when someone has overdosed on a life-threatening substance. Naloxone is not addictive, and as a matter of fact, the medication does not have an effect if there are no opioids in the bloodstream. Naloxone reinforces the practice of improving the quality of life of those who suffer from addiction.
Principles of harm reduction, like the use of naloxone, emphasize the understanding that treating addiction is a life-saving process. Although the ultimate goal is to maintain sobriety while on the road to recovery, it is not so much the destination as it is the journey that matters at an individual level. It’s important to remind those on their path that recovery looks different for everyone. Some are able to “quit cold turkey,” but many must take incremental steps that slowly improve their quality of life.
Despite the controversy, it is important that as many people are aware of Narcan as possible. This is especially this time of year when all emotions, from merriment to loneliness, are highest. Reach out to those you care about to make sure they are ok. While Narcan can save lives, a dose of love first might ensure you never need to use it.