University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) is offering free Maryland Overdose Response Program classes to help educate the public on the signs and symptoms of an opiate overdose. The Overdose Response Program is part of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s strategy to reduce overdose deaths. Biweekly classes are offered on an ongoing basis.
“Unfortunately, Glen Burnie, Anne Arundel County and the state of Maryland are not immune to the increased number of opioid-related deaths that have risen exponentially during the last few years,” said Kurt Haspert, an addiction medicine nurse practitioner at UM BWMC who oversees the program. “We are offering these classes to the general public to not only teach people how to administer Naloxone (also known as Narcan) but to also learn the signs and symptoms of someone who is experiencing an opioid-related overdose.”
Trained clinical staff from UM BWMC will lead each class, with room limited to 20 people per session. Attendees must preregister before attending the class, which lasts approximately two hours.
UM BWMC created the class in response to the Maryland General Assembly passing the Heroin and Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) Act of 2017 that in part allows the public to help save the life of someone who is suspected of suffering from an opioid overdose. The law allows someone with no medical background to provide the life-saving medication.
While UM BWMC will teach the class, Naloxone can only be legally obtained at licensed pharmacies in Maryland. There may be a co-pay of up to $35 depending on insurance and the Maryland Medicaid co-pay is $1. Individuals are encouraged to contact their local pharmacies directly to make sure they have supplies of Naloxone on-hand and readily available.
While individuals do not need to attend a training class to obtain Naloxone, Haspert encourages everyone who can to register for the class.
“Opioid addiction is affecting our entire community,” said Haspert. “It is not just a problem for certain segments of society – it is affecting all socio-economic ranges, ages, races and cultures. We hope by offering this program we will be able to reach more people, help save lives and get those suffering from opioid addiction the treatment they deserve.”
For more information about the Maryland Overdose Response Program classes offered at UM BWMC or to sign up for one of the classes, call 410-787-4490 or visit www.mybwmc.org/overdose-response-program-classes.