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Sallisaw NOW Coalition making a difference in the fight against opioid and drug overdoses

Sallisaw NOW Coalition members, from left, Todd Long,

Micki Kimble, Summer McGarrah and Heather Silva.

Friday, January 28, 2022 - Sequoyah County is working hard to get a grasp on the ongoing epidemic of opioid and drug overdoses. The Sallisaw NOW Coalition has been working toward doing just that after receiving a federal grant three years ago which has made a huge impact throughout the county.

Micki Kimble, Special Projects Coordinator with the Sallisaw NOW Coalition, works daily to educate and train school officials, fire departments, residents, and law enforcement agencies on the proper use of Narcan.

Kimble said, "Narcan is a nasal spray used to assist in the recovery of an individual after an opioid or drug overdose. One cannot 'get high', become addicted or be harmed by receiving Narcan."

The coalition is currently in year three of their four-year grant, which allows them to not only educate the community but also provide Narcan to the public at no cost.

"Sequoyah County is currently 16th in the state of Oklahoma for overdose deaths," Kimble added.

The program strives to educate the community on safe storage of medications, the dangers of fentanyl, and information specific to Sequoyah County overdoses. In addition to education and training, the Sallisaw NOW Coalition provides an outreach coordinator who is available to assist individuals in locating resources as well as treatment options.

Kimble said, "We have been able to train 934 people on how to properly administer Narcan and have supplied those individuals with Narcan as well."

The coalition also provides medication lock boxes to the public at no charge to ensure medications are being stored safely.

Recently, the coalition started working on the process of accessing data so they can apply for a continuation of the grant. Some points being addressed throughout the continuation are the number of those that have been educated, the distribution of flyers, education of the Good Samaritan Law, radio ads, commercials, drive-through events, and partnerships developed.

The team also has plans for future funding of crisis intervention training (CIT) for Sequoyah County as well as an active overdose detection mapping application program (ODMAP). Having an active ODMAP for Sequoyah County would provide registered agencies with a real-time count of overdoses.

"This would be beneficial because it would give a more accurate picture of the current status throughout Sequoyah County," Kimble added.

For additional information or to receive training, please contact Micki Kimble at 918-208-3755. The Sallisaw NOW Coalition offices are located inside the Chamber of Sallisaw Building at 101 N. Wheeler Street.

Lindsie Dyer, Staff Writer

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