The Indiana Chamber and our affiliate programs have focused a lot of time, energy and resources on helping employers and Hoosiers understand the impact of the opioid crisis in Indiana and the importance of educating others on ways they can help in their communities.

At the first round of employer opioid strategy convenings held throughout the state earlier this year, the Wellness Council of Indiana and Indiana Workforce Recovery offered optional Narcan trainings at the end of each convening, so employers could learn how to use the opioid overdose reversal drug.

Yesterday, it was our turn to learn! Through the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD), the Indiana Chamber offered a voluntary staff training session (which we paired with lunch and took less than an hour) on the use of Narcan.

Here are some highlights of what we learned:

  • All companies and organizations in Marion County can have this training done in-house by the MCPHD. One-on-one training is available through the MCPHD on Thursdays between 10 a.m. and noon. Call (317) 221-4618 to set up training
  • Indiana is ninth highest in the country in opioids prescribed
  • The likeliness of opioid dependency spikes between four and five days of taking a prescribed opioid and that addiction is still prevalent between one and three years later
  • Some people need a second dose of Narcan, which is why it is critical to call emergency medical assistance when encountering someone in an overdose
  • Anyone can attain a Narcan prescription by contacting the MCPHD or visiting one of the participating pharmacies found at in.gov

Another important piece to note: Narcan will only reverse an opioid overdose and will not help those overdosing from other drugs.

Here was my question: What does an opioid overdose look like? The key term when describing someone going through an overdose is “non-responsive” (and it’s important to convey that to the 911 operator). Other symptoms to watch for: skin that is a bluish color, stupor, clammy skin, etc. The overdose should reverse within two or three minutes after administration of Narcan.

“Lay responders” (those of us not in health care) are protected by Aaron’s Law when giving Narcan to someone suspected of an overdose. A 2015 Indiana law enables lay responders to be protected from most criminal or civil liability if four criteria are met:

  1. Administer the Narcan to a person suffering from an overdose
  2. Contact Emergency Services (911)
  3. Wait for police or first responders to arrive at the scene
  4. Stay and cooperate with law enforcement or first responders on the scene

Remember: If you administer Narcan and don’t call 911, you could be held criminally or civilly liable. It’s critical to the person in need of help that they get access to emergency services.

As part of our training, we received a one-dose prescription package of Narcan, as well a substance abuse toolkit with helpful tips and information on how to help others and links to important resources.

Charlee Beasor is the communications & PR manager for the Indiana Chamber. She is also a writer for the Chamber’s award-winning BizVoice magazine and has been with the organization for eight years.