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Press Release

Monongalia Co. QRT joins Appalachia-wide Save a Life Day with 10 locations

Aug. 31, 2023

Contact: MaryWade Burnside
Public Information Officer
Monongalia County Health Department
Morgantown, WV 26505
(304) 598-5152 | www.monchd.org
MaryWade.Burnside@wv.gov



For Immediate Release

Monongalia Co. QRT joins Appalachia-wide Save a Life Day with 10 locations

MORGANTOWN, WV (Aug. 31, 2023) — Two years after holding its first event with the goal of providing free naloxone and training to the community, the Monongalia County Quick Response Team (QRT) and volunteers will soon be at it again with Save a Life Day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14.
This will be the Monongalia County QRT’s fifth event dedicated to handing out naloxone and teaching how to administer it, said Brittany Irick, the QRT coordinator.
This year, more than 300 events will be taking place in all 13 Appalachian states on that day, according to Appalachian Save a Life Day coordinator Iris Sidikman.
“It’s great that this is Appalachia-wide,” Irick said.
The QRT is still seeking volunteers to help with Save a Life Day. If interested, go to Monongalia County Health Department’s website at monchd.org and click on the “Naloxone” button near the top to sign up online.
About 800 boxes of naloxone, or 1,600 doses, were given away at the first Save a Life Day in September 2021.
This year, the Monongalia County QRT will have at least 1,200 boxes, or 2,400 doses, to provide at 10 different locations. More than 30,000 doses are expected to be distributed in all the Appalachian states on Save a Life Day, Sidikman said.
Those locations will be the McDonald’s restaurants in Sabraton, Star City, Westover and Suncrest; the Clay-Battelle Pharmacy; the WVU Mountainlair and the WVU Health Science Campus.
Joining those seven places will be the WVU Rec Center, which will also be a COVID vaccination site; the Morgantown Art Party, which will also offer HIV testing; and Friendship Community in Recovery at 277 Don Knotts Blvd., which will have its own hours of 2-10 p.m.
“That will give people who work during the day plenty of time to visit a site after hours,” Irick said.
Additionally, fentanyl strips will also be given out. These allow individuals to test drugs to make sure they have not been laced with deadly fentanyl.
Sometimes known by its brand name, Narcan, naloxone can revive someone who has stopped breathing by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose.
The 13 states participating this year make up the Appalachian region as designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC). In addition to West Virginia, they include Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Maryland and New York.
West Virginia is the only state completely within the ARC. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov), half of the 10 states with the worst overdose rates are a part of Appalachia, which lost 40,560 residents in 2021 to overdose. This represented 38% of the nation’s overdose fatalities that year.
In addition to free naloxone, training will be provided to those who don’t know how to use it.
The Monongalia County QRT is a multiagency group created in the spring of 2019 with funding obtained by Monongalia County Health Department. Members meet weekly to discuss strategy; a major goal is for peer recovery specialists to respond to individuals who have overdosed within 72 hours to provide support, connect with them social services and to help them get into recovery.
Naloxone is also an important tool provided by the Monongalia County QRT year-round.
“Giving out naloxone can often wedge open the door a little and start the conversation between an individual with substance use disorder and a peer recovery coach or medical provider,” said Joe Klass, a member of the QRT as well as chief of operations for Monongalia County Health Department’s Threat Preparedness program.
Naloxone is great to keep on hand for a variety of reasons, Klass continued, including in a medicine cabinet at home.
“People who take the wrong dose of medicine or a child who gets into someone’s prescriptions could be saved with naloxone,” he said.
Once naloxone is administered, 911 should be called to continue treatment.
“Naloxone is very safe,” Klass noted. “If it turns out the person was having another type of medical emergency, it won’t hurt them.”
Noted Irick: “Anyone can receive naloxone training. You never know when you are going to encounter an overdose. It’s free and the training is super quick and easy, and it can save a life.”
For up-to-date information on health and wellness in Monongalia County, check out monchd.org and follow the health department on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram @WVMCHD.

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