SOL Collective Philadelphia and NEXT Distro team up to educate on Naloxone in continued fight against opioid crisis
The nonprofits are hosting a series of free training workshops on how to administer the life-saving drug.
As the COVID-19 pandemic enters a period of slowed uncertainty in Philadelphia, there is another crisis in the city that’s kept up its pace throughout the past year.
In 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Philadelphia, drug overdose deaths claimed the lives of 963 Philadelphians, nearly 80% of these deaths involved opioids. In 2020, 1,214 people died of overdoses, 9% more than died of overdoses in 2018.
As numbers continue to rise, nonprofits in Philadelphia teamed up with The Department of Public Health (PDPH) last year to reduce the number of overdoses by distributing doses of Naloxone.
SOL Collective Philadelphia, a harm-reduction collective based in Philadelphia dedicated to decreasing overdose numbers, has been collaborating with the drug reduction program, NEXT Distro, which mails Naloxone to households, to reduce overdoses.
Naloxone is a vital tool that can save someone's life if they are experiencing an overdose.
Opioid medication is often prescribed to a patient struggling with severe pain or who recently had surgery. The drug slows down the activity of the central nervous system, which causes a delay in breathing for those who are overdosing, according to the CDC.
Naloxone rapidly reverses the effects of opioid drugs, and normalizes the breathing of the affected person.
It can be administered via nasal spray or through injection.
SOL Collective began hosting free virtual Naloxone training workshops to help fight opioid overdoses. They also perform weekly outreach in neighborhoods such as Kensington.
The goal is to show people that Naloxone reduces the risk of opioid deaths and end the stigma of using Naloxone.
Dr. Shoshi Aronowitz, who works for SOL Collective, wants to provide store owners and residents of Philadelphia with Naloxone in case they need it.
“We are hoping the service is used by people who use drugs or people close to people who use drugs. Of course, we want everyone to have access to naloxone,” Aronowitz told Metro Philly.
Both programs are hoping to see the overdose numbers drop.
In 2020, the number of overdoses among non-Hispanic Black individuals also increased 29%, according to PDPH.
Many blame the pandemic, the isolation it brought and the economic fallout, for the major rise in overdoses.
However, as COVID-19 plateaus, NEXT Distro is encouraging people to go to their local pharmacies and stock up on Naloxone to continue the fight against overdoses.
The city’s website also recommends using its Naloxone map to find a nearby pharmacy that carries the drug. Most insurances will cover the cost.
NEXT Distro’s website also has other resources such as locations for syringe exchanges and access to hotlines regarding drug treatment centers and rehab facilities.
SOL Collective will be hosting many Naloxone training workshops both in-person and virtual through their Facebook page.
As a reminder, any drug that comes in a pill form, or powder, can have a trace of fentanyl, especially if it is bought on the streets.
For free Fentanyl strips or Naloxone please visit NEXT Distro’s website.