Community Of Responders Campaign Aims To End Overdose Deaths

By Lindsey Weedston 06/04/19

The program's goal is for naloxone to be deployed within six minutes of an overdose starting, drastically increasing the chances of the victims’ survival.

Image: 
Greg McNeil, founder of Cover2 Resources
Greg McNeil, founder of Cover2 Resources

A new campaign growing out of Green, Ohio aims to turn community members into lifesaving first responders who are ready to act in case of an opioid overdose. Combining the efforts of Cover2 Resources, NaloxBox, NaloxoFind, Project DAWN and ODMAP, the Community of First Responders (CFR) is the first of its kind in the U.S.

CFR was organized by Greg McNeil, founder of Cover2 Resources. McNeil lost his son, Sam, to a heroin overdose and has since dedicated his life to combating the epidemic of opioid overdose in the country.

His latest endeavor began early this year when he met one of the creators of NaloxBox—wall-mounted boxes similar to those containing AEDs but that contain naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug. These boxes can be installed anywhere, including public buildings and businesses.

McNeil was then connected to the founder of NaloxoFind, an app that allows anyone to find naloxone locations in the area. Combining these two just made sense, but McNeil’s primary concern was that ambulances often take too long to reach individuals suffering an overdose. 

“When a 911 call comes in about an overdose, first responders have six minutes to respond before there is brain damage,” McNeil explained to The Fix. “In 10 minutes, they’re gone.”

For maximum life-saving potential, McNeil came up with the idea to recruit members of the public to keep naloxone on their person and respond to overdose cases after being alerted via text message when one is reported nearby. The hope is that this program will allow naloxone to be deployed within six minutes of an overdose starting, drastically increasing the chances of the victims’ survival. 

Green, Ohio will be the testing ground for this program. McNeil had worked previously with Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, who was described as being very supportive of the CFR program. NaloxBoxes have already been approved for parts of the city that are most prone to seeing overdose cases. 

“The installations will take place over the next two weeks in five hotels along the I-77 corridor covering all three interchanges in the City of Green and at Akron Canton Airport,” said McNeil. “To the best of our knowledge, these are the first NaloxBox installations in hotels and airports in the country.”

The official launch date for CFR is June 25, when McNeil and other leaders in the fight against the opioid crisis will host a community event presenting the new program, holding a live demonstration, and treating guests to a to-be-announced musical guest. 

So far, the Green community has been overwhelmingly supportive of CFR even before its launch—and McNeil has set ambitious goals for its future.

“Our immediate goal is to complete installation and training for all participating hotel and airport personnel by our event launch. After the official launch of the CFR program, our goal will be to double the number of participating businesses by the end of the year.”

Check out the Cover2 Resources podcast for more information.

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Lindsey Weedston is a Seattle area writer focused on mental health and addiction, politics, human rights, and various social issues. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Ravishly, ThinkProgress, Little Things, Yes! Magazine, and others. You can find her daily writings at NotSorryFeminism.com. Twitter: https://twitter.com/LindseyWeedston

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