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UCHRA Public Transit Implementing Overdose Protection

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
UCHRA Public Transit Implementing Overdose Protection

UCHRA will equip Public Transportation drivers with naloxone nasal spray, an overdose-prevention medication.

Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist Justin Cantrell said making the life-saving medication available will lighten the workload for law enforcement and first responders. He said he hopes this makes a dent in overdose rates, the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 49.

“Three to five minutes without oxygen to the brain, the person could no longer be with us,” Cantrell said. “So it’s important for all people to carry this because addiction doesn’t discriminate and neither does overdose. I’d say we lose over 200 people a day here in America, 300 worldwide a day.”

Cantrell said vehicles will be equipped with two doses apiece that can be administered to people as young as two years old. He said the drug replaces the effects of opiates on pain receptors for 30-90 minutes. This creates a window to get overdose victims to hospitals and treatment centers.

“You never really know,” Cantrell said. “That’s why we would like to train all people and get a kit in all people’s hands because you never really know where this may happen. Just a trip to Walmart, this could happen.”

He said outside of those who overdose from illicit drug use, babies and elderly people are likely to benefit from naloxone. He said young children tend to ingest toxic substances by accident and the elderly often forget their medicine or mix them by mistake.

“You want to peel the packet, place the device in their nasal, and hit the button,” Cantrell said. “So peel, place, press, and have 9-1-1 with the exact location. You can administer this every two to three minutes. Like I said, you have two doses inside each kit. You can’t poison, overdose, hurt, harm. The only wrong way to do this is just, plainly, not to.”

He said Good Samaritan Laws in Tennessee protect individuals and businesses from prosecution if the person suffering an overdose does not approve of the use of the naloxone after the fact. He said he is excited to better equip drivers and contribute to the safety of the Upper Cumberland community.


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