Ridgeway Rescue Squad offering "Revive" opioid training class

Class started in response to increasing overdoses in Martinsville, Henry County

RIDGEWAY, Va. – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths increased more than 20 percent from 2015 to 2016.

On Saturday, thanks to a class offered by the Ridgeway Rescue Squad, about two dozen people will get a chance to learn about overdoses and the potentially lifesaving drug Narcan.

"I have personally been at a site where someone has overdosed and stood there helplessly, not knowing what to do," said Darrell Bryant.

That experience motivated Bryant to take the first opioid training class last month.

 "It was a very scary feeling. I did not like feeling helpless," Bryant said.

When the overdose happened, he helped put the person in a tub of cold water because he thought it would help.

"That was just a myth that I had heard," Bryant said. "Stick them in a tub of cold water and 'boom.'"

The class taught him otherwise and he said he now feels more confident about his ability to save someone who overdoses.

His wife, Vickie, also took the class last month because of two overdoses and one near overdose in her family.

"I didn't want to know the addict, I didn't want to know the dealer, I didn't want to know how to care for it," Vickie said. "Until Linda. Linda changed my view. This class changed my view."

She's referring to Linda Miller, the class's instructor.

Miller said someone who has overdosed won't be easily aroused, will be clammy and have a faint pulse.

She teaches people to give them Narcan and then immediately call 911.

"You just put a dose in each side of the nostril," Miller said, using a dummy to demonstrate how to squirt Narcan up a person's nose.

Narcan may take up to a minute to kick in.

Miller also reminds people to begin CPR on the person after giving them Narcan if they don't appear to be breathing enough to stay alive.

Tristen Mahler took last month's class and says he's proud he now knows how to properly administer Narcan.

"I've had family members that have been prescribed opioids and sometimes I do worry that they'll overdose," Mahler said.

"I've gotten a little bit of feedback from both sides of things," he said about his family's reaction to him taking the class. "The whole 'I can take care of myself. I know what I'm doing.' But, on the other hand, it's been expressed to me that they are glad that I've taken the training."

Saturday's class begins at 2 p.m. at the rescue squad.

The rescue squad started offering the class once a month in response to the Martinsville-Henry County area being named earlier this year as number one in the nation for opioid and heroin overdoses.

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