Prevention Saves Lives


By Michelle Wagaman,
Prevention Services Coordinator

I shouldn’t be surprised by this after nearly 12 years of working at the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB) but it still happens. I am often in a situation or with a group of people discussing a human condition or need for support. And more often than not, I would’ve just learned more about a program or service offered by RACSB. Or, I would have just taken a training on that topic. Right place, right time.

A Safe Place for Support

This professional proximity has been especially important to my extended family over the last two months as we learned a loved one was battling opiate addiction. Gratefully he is now 47 days clean, actively engaged in an intensive outpatient therapy program, and participating in his local recovery community.

This family member also knows he has a safe place to turn for support. While I may live four hours away from my cousin, he now knows that I’m not afraid to have the conversation or to ask the hard questions. He knows there’s no judgement or stigma attached to his battle.

Changes in Prevention

Doctor gives naloxone to a participant of the REVIVE training class.

The Rappahannock Health District provides naloxone to people who complete REVIVE! training through RACSB.

Historically, CSB Prevention Services have focused on preventing youth from using and abusing substances. We talk about making healthy choices for your body with pre-schoolers. We talk about the negative consequences of risky behavior with teenagers. We provide merchant education to alcohol and tobacco retailers to remind them of the importance of carding and not selling to minors.

Today, we also talk about saving lives through the REVIVE! Opioid Overdose Reversal Training and administration of Narcan. What an extremely important conversation to have in our community.

Did you know there were 72 fatal overdoses attributed to opiates in Planning District 16 in 2016? We don’t have the final numbers for 2017 yet but I’m sure they will be higher. The number of overdoses alone have doubled in one county compared to the previous year. However, the number of fatalities has decreased due to the availability of Narcan which temporarily reverses an overdose.

Saving Lives

Police officer stands beside red bin for medication disposal

Fredericksburg Police Department has a disposal bin for medications.

As a community, there are numerous things we can do to help prevent overdose and deaths related to opiates and heroin. And, most of the items listed below are easy and don’t require much time or effort on your part.

Safely dispose of medications.

What does that mean? It means not keeping old, expired, or unused medications in your home. It also means not flushing or throwing out in the trash.

Thankfully, there are several options to safely dispose of medications in our community:

 

  • Take advantage of Operation Medicine Cabinet which is organized locally by the Partners in Aging Coalition. It’s held twice a year to correspond with the National Drug Take Back Day sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.Two black bags marked to safely dispose medication.
  • Utilize a Medication Disposal Kit like this one provided by the Virginia Department of Health and Rappahannock Health District. These are also available at RACSB clinics. And you can find them in various locations throughout Virginia.

Safely store medications.

Perhaps you are currently taking a prescription for pain medicine. Keep it safe and away from others to whom it is not prescribed by using a medication lock box. Or, limit access to your medicine cabinet.

Have you heard the campaign “Don’t be an accidental drug dealer?” Keep an inventory of your medications so you know exactly what you have on hand. You’ll also know when something is missing.

Have the conversation.

Talk with your prescribing physicians so you understand what you are taking and why. Discuss pain management and alternatives to opioids.

Talk with your family members. Discuss the importance of only taking medication as prescribed and under the guidance of a physician.

Keep the conversation going.

What to learn more? Sign-up for a REVIVE! training. They’re free and last approximately 90-minutes.REVIVE instructor shows the medical dummy to the class.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Rappahannock United Way

3310 Shannon Park Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22408

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Rappahannock United Way

3310 Shannon Park Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22408

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