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Naloxone: A powerful tool to fight opioid poisoning

You probably know someone who struggles with substance use. When someone you care about has a substance use disorder, it’s common to feel helpless and hopeless. But what would you do if you found someone close to you unresponsive because of opioid poisoning?

Pierce County resident “Kristen” was terrified she would find herself in that situation. She worried she would come home and find her little sister not breathing. So, she acted. Kristen searched for answers online and found the phone number for her local Fire Department. They told her about Naloxone.

Life-saving medication.

Naloxone is a medication designed to quickly reverse the effects of opioid poisoning. When Kristen contacted Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, she shared her concerns with Kayla Luke, a Treatment Services counselor. Kayla said, “Kristen was scared and desperate. I knew we had to help.” She invited Kristen to an in-person training where she could receive a free Naloxone kit and learn how to administer it. Kristen arrived within one hour, her 6 kids in tow.

Today, Kristen knows she’s not alone. She feels empowered and has the resources to help her family.


What are we doing?

Treatment Services distributes Naloxone kits to patients and the community. Each kit contains a survey to track if the Naloxone was used to reverse a poisoning.

Recently, we received a survey from a patient who used Naloxone on a friend. They administered two doses, called 911 and waited for paramedics. The patient who carried Naloxone saved a life—someone’s child, sibling, parent, spouse, friend.

Every kit we distribute is potentially a life saved. Naloxone can give someone a second chance for recovery.

Making a difference.

Opioid addiction is a crisis in Pierce County. Opioid poisonings were the leading cause of accidental deaths in 2017, killing more people than car accidents. Thousands more experience hospital stays, family problems, legal trouble and disrupted lives.

Helping people recover from addiction is some of our most important work. We want to make sure clients connect with treatment in the right form, at the right time and in the right place. In many cases, that means our Treatment Services program. 

Learn more about Treatment Services.