University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) was recently awarded a $40,000 grant from the Anne Arundel County Local Development Council (LDC) to provide free classes to educate the public on symptoms of an opiate overdose and how to administer the life-saving emergency treatment Naloxone (also known as Narcan). Classes are set to begin in January at UM BWMC’s Hanover offices, located at the Baltimore Washington Health Services Park at 7556 Teague Road.
Trained clinical staff from UM BWMC will lead each class, which is limited to 20 people per session. Attendees must be at least 16 years of age and preregister before attending the class, which lasts approximately two hours.
“The incidents of opioid-related deaths have increased dramatically in Anne Arundel County over the last several years,” said Kurt Haspert, director of addiction medicine at UM BWMC who oversees the program for the medical center. “This allows us to teach the general public how to administer Narcan and provide them this life-saving treatment for our fellow citizens facing opiate addiction.”
CPR training will also be offered to participants because many people who overdose on opiates suffer from cardiac arrest.
The LDC is established under the authority of Maryland law in counties where a casino is located. The LDC’s sole purpose is to advise the county executive on the needs and priorities of the communities surrounding the Maryland Live! Casino and the expenditure of casino funds.
“UM BWMC has been an incredible community partner as we work to turn the tide against the opioid epidemic,” said County Executive Steve Schuh. “This county investment will help them continue their good work in saving lives.”
UM BWMC has been offering classes through the Maryland Overdose Response Program since July 2017. The Overdose Response Program is part of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s strategy to reduce overdose deaths. However, Narcan was not provided at these classes, which were located at the medical center’s main campus in Glen Burnie, due to funding.
“This grant will go a long way in helping us to save more lives,” said Haspert. “It is not a permanent solution, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.”
For more information about the opiate overdose prevention classes, call 410-787-4490.