Librarians come to rescue of overdose victims

Workers trained to administer Narcan
Posted at 5:13 PM, Aug 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-08 18:02:05-04
At the public library in Westminster, a new collection of e-books offers dozens of titles dealing with opioid addiction, but these workers had already received a crash course when a young woman overdosed in the public restroom.
"I went into the restroom and the female was on her side,” said Brad Garber, the security officer at the library. “I rolled her over. She was blue. She wasn't breathing."
"The kit that we had at the time---you had to put together, and it was several different pieces that you had to put together,” added Maureen Aversa, a children’s library associate. “So my hands were shaking and I couldn't get the pieces together and eventually we were able... as a team... there was four of us at that time were able to get it put together and administer it."'
Ironically, Aversa was one of a handful of employees at the library that had requested training in administering the anti-overdose drug a few months earlier.
"She was blue. You could tell she was in grave condition,” recounted Aversa.
"When the EMTs came in originally, they didn't think she was going to make it," said Garber. "They administered oxygen and were ready to administer a second dose of Narcan when she started to come around."
In the aftermath of the rescue, the executive director of the Carroll County Public Library, Lynn Wheeler, looked to expand that training and the county's health department offered to do it for free, as well as providing a supply of Narcan at no charge.
"I'm so proud of our staff, because that was all volunteer training and 121 people signed up for the training and have received training," said Wheeler.
Training, which not only saved a young woman's life, but also changed those around her in the process.
"You felt like you were within minutes or even seconds of her not making it,” said Garber, “So it was a big relief when she came around and she was okay."
In the months that followed, customers reported two separate incidents where people were suffering from overdoses in St. John's Cemetery, which borders the library, and in both cases, staff members saved their lives as well.