JFRD Offering Free Online Overdose Awareness Training on August 31, 2020

August 28, 2020  


In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day, which is observed on Aug. 31 ever year, Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department (JFRD) and Drug Free Duval are offering free online training on recognizing the signs of an overdose and how to administer NARCAN® Nasal Spray, an FDA approved treatment for an opioid overdose. Participants are eligible to receive free NARCAN®. Two training sessions will be offered on Monday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Registration is required and can be completed by clicking these links: 10 a.m. session or 2 p.m. session.

International Overdose Awareness Day seeks to create better understanding of overdose, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and create change that reduces the harms associated with drug use. On Aug. 17, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a proclamation to recognize Overdose Awareness Day in Florida to “raise awareness of the issues surrounding substance abuse to prevent more drug overdose related deaths.”

Approximately 5,000 lives were lost in the state of Florida in 2018 to drug overdose according to the Florida Department of Health. In Duval County, nearly 1,200 people died from a drug overdose from 2016 to 2018 and more than 80% of these deaths were caused by an opioid. Mark Rowley, JFRD’s assistant chief of Information Services, reports that overdoses in Jacksonville have increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Opioid-related overdose 911 calls were up nearly 40% in the first half of 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019. On average, Jacksonville firefighters are responding to 15 overdose calls each day. Citizens can help prevent overdose deaths by learning to recognize the signs of an overdose, calling 911 and administering NARCAN® Nasal Spray while waiting for firefighters to arrive.

“Overdose can affect anyone ― our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. They are loved and those we have lost are missed,” said Sally Finn, executive director of Drug Free Duval. “We encourage members of the First Coast community to participate in this valuable training so that you can learn how to save a life.”

This training and NARCAN® Nasal Spray are being offered through the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Project, a program funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and in-kind contributions from the City of Jacksonville.Contact Division Chief David Castleman at (904) 630-7055 or DavidS@coj.net with questions related to the Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods Project. Those who need access to NARCAN or would like to schedule NARCAN training for an organization, should contact Project Director Laura Viafora Ray at (904) 630-3488 or LVRay@coj.net.

For information on substance use treatment options, visit FindTreatment.gov or call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).