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Opioid crisis discussed

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services heard a presentation from Heather Gernold, State Targeted Response Coordinator, Florida Parishes Human Services Authority, on Tuesday, March 27 at 9:30 a.m. at Elizabeth Sullivan Memorial Church in Bogalusa. Thirty-five people were in attendance.

Highlights of her presentation included the fact that Washington Parish had 35-40 opioid related deaths from 2012-2016 and that Narcan, the opioid antidote, is now available at Walgreen and CVS. Opioids include heroin and prescription pain pills like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin.

When a person is overdosing on an opioid, breathing can slow down or stop and it can very hard to wake them from this state. Narcan (naloxone) is a prescription medicine that blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose. It cannot be used to get a person high. If given to a person who has not taken opioids, it will not have any effect on him or her, since there is no opioid overdose to reverse.

Gernold stressed to call 911 if a person is overdosing, and paramedics will have Narcan or a similar antidote available. A Bogalusa office to address opioid issues is now open on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 2106 Ave. F. Call 985-732-6610. This location provides mental health and addictive disorders services to residents of Washington Parish and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Jeans for Justice will be held on April 13. T-Shirts are available for $10 or you may wear a black T-shirt to celebrate the day. ADAPT, Inc., has more information available by calling 985-735-0160. The name Jeans 4 Justice comes from a grassroots campaign inspired by a 1999 case in an Italian high court, in which a rape conviction was overturned because the victim was wearing jeans.

There will be a Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28, at Nielsen’s Pharmacy from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. As a result of partnering with the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bogalusa Police Department to safely dispose of your old medications, all prescriptions (Schedule II-V controlled and non-controlled substances) and over-the-counter medications will be accepted.

Representatives from the Washington Parish Youth Coalition, Our Lady of Angels Hospital, Healthy Blue, Bogalusa Police Department, Florida Parishes Human Services Authority, Well Ahead, and Brightside Social Services Louisiana gave information on their latest community endeavors.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 24, from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., when there will be a three-hour training on Adverse Childhood Experiences from Dr. Murelle Harrison, Retired Professor and Executive Director, Gardere Initiative. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. These experiences range from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to parental divorce or the incarceration of a parent or guardian. Toxic stress experienced early in life and common precipitants of toxic stress — such as poverty, abuse or neglect, parental substance abuse or mental illness, and exposure to violence — can have a cumulative toll on an individual’s physical and mental health. The community is invited to this training.

There is more information available about the Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services by visiting wpchs.weebly.com, or by liking the coalition on Facebook at WPCHS. Find and follow the coalition on Twitter at twitter.com/WPCoalitionHS or on Instagram at www.instagram.com/adaptincorporated/.