By Maddy Vitale
Jim Fagan wants to protect his children. He wants to make sure that prescription pills don’t get in their hands.
But when he and his wife moved in with his in-laws in Lower Township while they are building a home, it became clear that without securing the prescriptions in the house, an accident could happen.
“I have very young kids,” Fagan said of his 1-year-old girl and boys, ages 3 and 5. “But they could mistake a pill for candy.”
He bought a safe. “We make sure the medicine is locked away,” Fagan said.
Hoping to learn how to protect his children in other ways, Fagan was one of about 15 local residents and community representatives who attended the Sea Isle City Municipal Alliance Narcan training at the city’s Community Lodge. An instructor informed the audience how to use the Narcan kits should they suspect a person has overdosed.
Alliance Coordinator Kellie Seib stood at the entrance of the lodge and welcomed residents as they took packages filled with literature about medications and a drug deactivation bag to safely dispose of pills.
Seib said safely storing prescription medicines or disposing of them properly, and Narcan training, are important measures to keep the community safe.
Sea Isle just unveiled a 24-hour medicine drop box in the City Hall lobby for people to dispose of their unwanted or expired medications.
“Our focus at the Municipal Alliance is on safety in your home and safely and effectively disposing of your medicines,” Seib said.
Narcan training is part of another facet of the alliance – education, she said. Narcan is an antidote for drug overdoses.
Jennifer Hicks, of the Camden-based Urban Treatment Associates, instructed the audience on how to use Narcan and how to recognize and prevent an overdose.
She also spoke of the nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse. During her remarks, she stressed that drug addiction is a disease.
Hicks told the group that the most crucial thing to do is to call 911. Then, give the person “rescue breaths,” wait a few minutes and administer Narcan. The antidote is sprayed in the nostrils, like a nose spray. A person performing the life-saving measure is to continue rescue breaths until the overdose victim regains consciousness.
Hicks told the audience that once Narcan is administered, the person comes out of the overdose. But the person who administers the Narcan must stay with the victim for two hours. More than likely, she said, if the first rule was followed, calling 911, then emergency help will already be there.
“Narcan works to block receptors for 30 to 90 minutes,” Hicks said.
There have been instances when a person is resuscitated, but then falls back into an overdose. In that case, the emergency workers would handle it. The kits only come with one Narcan bottle, which is only good for a single use. Future kits may include two, she said.
Audience members asked about mouth protection when giving a person “rescue breaths.” Hicks displayed a plastic cover that goes over a person’s mouth to protect the person applying the breaths.
Alliance members Ruth Brown, a hospital pharmacist, and Mary Romano, a Sea Isle City EMT, said when they learned the alliance was going to offer Narcan training to residents they were all for it.
“We need to get the word out,” Brown said. “You don’t know what the person next door is doing so it is good to have a kit.”
She plans on bringing a Narcan kit to her church. There are narcotics anonymous meetings there.
For more information about the Sea Isle Municipal Alliance contact Kellie Seib at 609-263-4461 ext. 1222 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.