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IU, Witham offer free, online naloxone training

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Indiana University has partnered with Witham Health Services to offer free, online training in the administration of naloxone, a life-saving drug that is used to reverse opioid overdoses.

The training, called the Opioid Rapid Response System, uses the PulsePoint mobile app to link citizen responders to possible opioid overdose events in public places in the community as they happen. The app is connected to 911 services and can immediately inform users of emergencies occurring in their community and can request help when CPR is needed, according to the app’s website, pulsepoint.org. Citizen responders who use the app are members of the general public trained in naloxone and rescue breathing administration but who are not trained first responders.

Indiana University’s goal is to provide free, online training to people in Boone, Dearborn, Hancock, Madison and Monroe counties, according to Witham officials. All participants receive a free naloxone kit and compensation upon training completion.

“A few minutes can make all the difference,” said Mary Beth Searles, Witham’s director of marketing and public relations. “First responders often take longer to arrive, so (having the) general public trained could save a life and help until first responders arrive. Witham sees firsthand those that could benefit from this in our (emergency department).”

Witham Health Services Foundation started the Mental Health in the Emergency Dept. program in 2019. Each patient who comes to Witham’s emergency department with a mental health crisis can receive immediate treatment from a mental health professional from Integrated Wellness LLC.

From Nov. 19, 2019, to Oct. 31, 2020, Witham saw 169 patients in the department who had a mental health crisis, of which 109 presented with suicidal ideations and 57 came in due to substance use, according to a press release. The data does not include patients who refused help, those who came via ambulance, a physician visit or those who were already inpatients at Witham. In March, mental health patients at Witham required 91 hours of treatment in the emergency room.

To sign up for the free training, visit prevention.iu.edu/projects/orrs/training.php.

To learn more about Witham’s Mental Health in the ED program or to support the program, visit witham.org/foundation/fund-the-need/fund-the-need or call 765-485-8112.


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