Free classes train people to save lives of overdose victims

Posted at 11:25 PM, Jan 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-25 23:36:08-05

Opioid addiction is an epidemic that claims the lives of Marylanders every year. Groups all over the state are doing everything they can to stop those overdose deaths.

The Baltimore County Department of Health offers free training classes on how to recognize, prevent and respond to an opioid overdose using Naloxone or Narcan. It's a nasal spray that's easy to use -- one shot and it's done.

"We've seen across the state and in Baltimore County an increase in opioid overdose deaths, so we're trying to do everything we can to combat the problem and save lives," said Mary Viggiani, the program manager. "Just like people learn CPR or first aid to respond to that sort of emergency, we like to think of it like that, that anybody might come across someone who has we try to train as many people as possible."

Baltimore County has been hosting the trainings since June 2014. Since then, there have been 55 sessions and more than 2,100 attendees.

RELATED: Gov. Hogan unveils tougher legislation to reverse opioid epidemic

Brian Griswold is the co-director of Celebrate Recovery, a 12-step program to combat addiction. He said he and a few of his staff members went to the training to learn how to deal with someone if they were to overdose during the program.

"Tonight was a great opportunity to raise awareness, get some practical tools that I could then take back to wherever I'm going to go and use," Griswold said. "I got information, I got connected with resources that I didn't know about, so just the whole thing tonight was great, I thought, for me."

Everyone who attends the training gets a kit with instructions, a face shield and two doses of the Narcan nasal spray.

So what's on the agenda in the class?

  • Defining an opioid and the Naloxone medication
  • How to recognize an overdose and what to do
  • How to use the medication
  • What to do afterward

"Even if a person's not sure that it's an opioid overdose, if they suspect it, they should give it because if they did have any opioids it could work, and if they didn't, it's not going to hurt them," Viggiani said.

If you're interested in attending a class, the dates and locations are below.

Wednesday, February 15, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Pikesville Library
1301 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, Maryland 21208

Tuesday, March 14, from 6 to 8 p.m.
First Baptist Church of Essex
911 Mace Avenue
Essex, Maryland 21221

Tuesday, April 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Hiss United Methodist Church
8700 Harford Road
Parkville, Maryland 21234

Tuesday, May 9, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Arbutus Library
855 Sulphur Spring Road
Arbutus, Maryland 21227

Wednesday, June 7, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center
323 Sollers Point Road
Dundalk, Maryland 21212

Pre-registration is required and seating is limited. Register online at  or call 410-887-3828.

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