BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — Last-minute shoppers are hitting the malls for those final gifts, but at Southern Park Mall, some stopped by a table for something that could save a life.
“We are distributing Project Dawn kits which contain Narcan,” said Tracy Styka with Mahoning County Public Health. “Boardman has a number of opioid overdoses so we thought the mall would be a nice place to come out.”
2021 set a record for overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States surpassed 100,000 overdoses.
The holidays are known to be a time that can trigger someone to use opioids. The pandemic, general holiday stress and a record-breaking year has some experts worried.
“The holidays can be stressful for anybody and for people who have a substance abuse disorder, it can be stressful also and that stress can trigger someone to have an overdose,” Styka said.
There are signs to look for to know if someone is having an overdose: blue or ashen skin, pinpoint pupils and difficulty breathing.
Mahoning County Health Department recommends having a Narcan kit on-hand just in case.
“Sometimes you don’t know if someone is having an overdose or not but administering Narcan will not hurt them,” Styka said.
If you missed the free kits are Southern Park Mall, you can contact your local health department to pick one up.