Jill Gray, Communications & Public Affairs Manager
FARMINGTON, ME – On Sunday’s opening day of the Franklin County Agricultural Fair, Healthy Community Coalition’s (HCC) mobile health unit staff assisted with saving a life from a drug overdose. HCC staff immediately responded when a panicked individual approached them asking for Narcan to help a person who had overdosed.
Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a medicine that can reverse an overdose from opioid medications, heroin, fentanyl or other drugs.
Ashley McCarthy of HCC and McKenzie Searles of Franklin Community Health Network sprang into action, grabbing supplies and following the person about 100 yards to find the unconcscious individual needing Narcan. Shortly after the Narcan was administered, two more doses were given by NorthStar paramedics. Law enforcement, first responders and bystanders arrived soon thereafter to offer aid.
After CPR and other emergency care was provided, paramedics found a pulse and the overdose victim was transported to the Emergency Department at Franklin Memorial Hospital.
“As the Substance Use Disorder (SUD), crisis continues to plague our community, keeping people alive who are actively using drugs is critical until they are ready to get help and start their recovery journey,” said Ashley McCarthy, who has spearheaded the harm reduction strategies at HCC for nearly five years. “Harm reduction is an approach that emphasizes engaging directly with people who use drugs in an effort to save lives, build relationships and help people when they are ready for recovery.”
Substance use resources, including harm reduction services offered at Healthy Community Coalition, include substance use prevention, stigma training, a peer recovery coach program, information on community resources, and naloxone education and distribution. Research shows that when Narcan and overdose education are available to community members, overdose deaths decrease in those communities and the likelihood of recovery increases.
HCC is at the fair all week providing many services, such as vaccinations, health screenings and harm reduction services including Narcan.
If you or someone your know could benefit from prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction resources including Narcan education, please contact Ashley McCarthy, lead program coordinator for harm reduction, at 207-779-2463 or email [email protected]
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit integrated health system whose vision is “Working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.” It consists of nine local health systems, a comprehensive behavioral healthcare network, diagnostic services, home health agencies, and 1,700 employed providers working together through the MaineHealth Medical Group. With approximately 22,000 employees, MaineHealth provides preventive care, diagnosis and treatment to 1.1 million residents in Maine and New Hampshire. It includes Franklin Memorial Hospital/Franklin Community Health Network in Farmington, LincolnHealth in Damariscotta and Boothbay Harbor, Maine Behavioral Healthcare in South Portland, MaineHealth Care at Home in Saco, Maine Medical Center in Portland, Memorial Hospital in North Conway, N.H., Mid Coast-Parkview Health in Brunswick, NorDx in Scarborough, Pen Bay Medical Center and Waldo County General Hospital in Rockport and Belfast, Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and Sanford, Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook and Stephens Memorial Hospital/Western Maine Health Care in Norway. MaineHealth Affiliates include Maine General Health in Augusta and Waterville, New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Portland and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. It is also a significant stakeholder in the MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization in Portland.