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Professor teaches overdose prevention by bike

By Victoria Thompson

Special to The Farmville Herald

When one thinks of going for a bike ride, thoughts of a fresh breeze and sunshine come to mind, but Friday, April 16 on Longwood’s campus, a Virginia Commonwealth University professor used a bike ride to teach others how to help prevent opioid overdoses.

John Freyer, an arts professor at VCU, gave a 20-minute demonstration on how to approach a person possibly overdosing on opioids. Freyer also mentioned he is on the path of personal recovery as well.

Longwood Recovers hosted the training event to show students how to distribute Narcan in the case of an opioid overdose.

“We do Narcan trainings a couple times each semester,”  Ashley Green, a graduate assistant for Longwood Recovers, said. “This is a special training coming from VCU.”

When asked about the difference between Narcan and naloxone, Freyer clarified, “Narcan is a commercial brand. Naloxone is the chemical name. Narcan is one of the best known brands, and it’s well known because it’s very easy to administer, which is why it’s great to train with.”

The Narcan itself serves as a nasal spray administered through the nostrils.

“It only works for opioids. It can only counteract the life-threatening event of an opioid overdose,” Green said.

This means no harm would come to a person given Narcan because it has no effect on the human body apart from counteracting the effects of opioids.

Freyer also discussed how to recognize an opioid overdose. Some signs of this involve not moving, blue or ashen skin, and unresponsiveness.

There were also a couple methods he prescribed to test a person’s responsiveness such as pinching ears with fingernails and using knuckles to give a sternum rub. In addition, Freyer also explained how to give rescue breaths.

Sometimes the Narcan works the first time, and the person wakes up, according to Freyer. If the person doesn’t wake up the first time, Freyer recommended providing additional rescue breaths until medical experts arrive.

For at least the past two semesters, this training event has been held virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 15 students and faculty members from Longwood attended the event.

At the end of the demonstration, those in attendance received certification to administer the Narcan and received their own Narcan nasal devices to use during a possible opioid overdose situation.

Longwood Recovers is the university’s collegiate recover program designed to support students in their recovery process for addiction-related issues. This Narcan training event was made possible thanks to the Collegiate Recovery Expansion Grant given by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Human Services.