United States Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and seven of her staff members were trained Monday, August 26, by Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon’s Hope One team on how to use Narcan to reverse an opioid addiction.
Sheriff Gannon and partners in the Hope One mobile substance use resource and recovery program met at the Congresswoman’s 11th Legislative District office in Parsippany after she, earlier in the day, had met with substance use treatment providers in Sussex and Morris counties.
Sheriff Gannon was joined by Robert Davison, executive director of the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties; MHA Director of Self-Help, Advocacy and Education Madine Despeine-Udoh, MHA Board of Directors Vice President Barbara Small; Kelly LaBar, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist for the Rockaway-based Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES); and Morris County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Ashley Craig.
The Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Counties and CARES are partners with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office on Hope One, which was launched on April 3, 2017, to bring critical recovery options and resources to Morris County communities.
Kelly LaBar gave the Congresswoman and her staff a detailed power point presentation on how to recognize an opioid overdose and administer the nasal spray Naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan, to reverse an overdose. Peer Recovery Specialist LaBar used a mannequin to demonstrate the correct way to administer a 4 milligram dose of Narcan and described how substance use disorders imperil not only the users but their families and friends. Addiction is not a source of shame since it affects people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, she said.
“People don’t get better if they have to hide,” Specialist LaBar said.
The Congresswoman told the Sheriff she knows police choose law enforcement careers out of a genuine desire to help people and protect communities. Hope One, she said, has carried that work further by not only teaching the use of Narcan but assisting people with accessing resources.
“To simply give somebody Narcan without more feels a little defeating,” she said. “To really have other programming that you’re focused on to actually help someone through recovery is really helpful.”
Sheriff Gannon applauded the Congresswoman for her interest and compassion on the subject of opioid abuse.
“I commend Congresswoman Sherrill and her staff for taking the time to be trained in the use of Narcan and hear about the journey Hope One has been on for the past 28 months to try to curb the heroin and opioid epidemic that doesn’t recognize any economic, race or political boundaries,” Sheriff Gannon said.
MHA Executive Director Davison also praised the presentation and the Congresswoman’s reception to the training.
“One of the things we’ve learned as a society is that the opioid epidemic doesn’t discriminate. Furthermore, we’ve learned we have to cooperate with each other to deal with it. Every family, if not experiencing it, knows a family that is. No one is spared. It’s part of the human condition,” Director Davison said.
Through its partnership with CARES and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office’s receipt of a $332,658 grant from the United States Justice Department, Hope One is able to give individuals who are trained in Narcan a free kit of the antidote to use if and when the emergency arises.
The Hope One team, since April 3, 2017, has made contact with more than 8,065 individuals, assisted 147 people in obtaining recovery or rehabilitation treatment, connected 105 people with mental health services, and trained at least 1,891 people on how to use Narcan.