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Naloxone training aims to combat growing opioid crisis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Opioid overdoses have dramatically increased over the last two years, the Marion County Public Health Department says.

Black and brown communities are included in those numbers.

An Indianapolis-based agency is holding training to help minimize the risk of death.

HER Living is focused on whole health and that covers a broad spectrum, but adding to that focus is fighting back against opioid addiction, particularly in Black and brown communities, pointing out that opioid epidemic isn’t an unfamiliar crisis.

The opioid epidemic continues to grow, and the list of people impacted is getting younger.

“We are still very much so losing a lot of particularly young, Black people,” said LeTava Mabilijengo.

She’s chief executive officer of HER Living campus. She knows how opioids can impact the person, community and a family. “I, too, like so many families, received that horrid phone call that my nephew, we had lost him.”

It’s taken a few years, but she can now more openly about his death. She is using her grief, hoping it will help others with friends, family and loved ones battling addiction.

“He was so close to the door. He was right there when he was found, and that’s a term that becomes personal to you. When you know you’re dealing with a loved one who is struggling with addiction, you don’t want to find them.”

For the rest of the year, in partnership with Ujima Wellness, HER Living will hold monthly naloxone administering training sessions. Attendees will learn how to spot the signs of an overdose, and how to respond. The training will also come with two free doses of naloxone, also known as Narcan.

“Imagine how it feels waiting for an ambulance to come, and all you can do is wait because you don’t know what else to do.”

The training sessions will be an important tool, she says, to help families feel empowered. “It does snatch the bottom out from under you.”

Adding she understands some may feel this training encourages use, she says it’s a necessary step because someone can’t ever get help if they aren’t alive to eventually get it.

“We’re rolling up our sleeves and we’re getting in this fight.”

The training is free, but registration is required. The first session will be March 24.