Lexington's mayor carries Narcan and she wants you to carry it too
There are many uncertainties when it comes to the drug epidemic in Kentucky and across the country. But one thing is saving lives over and over: Naloxone. You may know it by the brand name Narcan.
"No one knows when they would need Narcan," said Kevin Hall with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department. "No one knows whether it's tonight, tomorrow. Unfortunately, people who inject opioids don't wear signs that say, 'I'm using and I need help.'"
Lexington's leadership has decided to emphasize everyone in the city being trained and to carry Narcan in case they run across someone who needs it.
"That's all naloxone does. It keeps people alive," Hall said.
Lexington's mayor isn't too important to carry the life-saving drug.
"If we keep people alive, we can treat people," Mayor Linda Gorton told WKYT's Miranda Combs.
She keeps it on her desk in the mayor's office and carries it with her when she's out.
Gorton is also a registered nurse and is well-versed in what to do in an emergency. But she said learning to give a dose of Narcan doesn't require a degree.
The class at the health department takes a total of 30 minutes. The training lasts ten minutes. The other twenty minutes are for paperwork and questions.
"First of all, I'm the leader of our city, of our community, and anytime you have an organization, and the leader is saying, 'We need to do this. We need to do this,' that can set a different sort of thinking in the community," said Mayor Gorton. "I can set the tone. People can say, 'If the mayor is doing this, I can do this.'"
From day one in office, Mayor Gorton has been working to bring different groups together to help those with substance abuse.
Gorton has hired employees to focus just on that. Andrea James is one of them.
"These silos need to be broken down or at least bridges built between the silos so that we're able to show everybody we're all in this together. It's going to take all of us to deal with this issue because it impacts all of us," James said.
Mayor Gorton says one thing everyone can do, is to be ready to save a life.
"It's all kinds of people that are getting trained, and so really it makes our community a healthier place when there are a lot of people who understand how to use these [tools]," said Gorton.
The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is hosting free classes on Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m.