MAINE – The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a new online training program to help combat the opioid overdose crisis in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension. The Community First Responder Program aims to provide education and resources to rural Mainers to help recognize and respond to an opioid overdose.
“Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in adults under 50 and we are feeling the effects of the epidemic acutely here in Maine,” says Lisa Phelps, Extension program administrator. “Just two years ago, we recorded the highest number of overdose deaths ever at nearly 630. That’s a big increase over previous years and is largely due to synthetic opioids. This short, easy-to-use training teaches people how to recognize an opioid overdose and how to administer the simple, life-saving antidote.”
The training consists of a series of online modules and videos that take 25-30 minutes to complete. Learning objectives for the course include recognizing signs, symptoms and risk factors for a bad reaction to opioids; understanding how naloxone (Narcan) works and how to use it; and knowing how to handle intense situations.
At the end of the course, there is additional information on where to find over-the-counter naloxone at low or no cost. Interested parties can also request a free live training seminar for groups or a continuing education program accredited for pharmacists, nurses or licensed mental health counselors.
UMaine Extension is also partnering with Bangor-based Health Equity Alliance (HEAL) and Husson University School of Pharmacy to offer this important training to Maine residents.