Garfield County Public Health to distribute naloxone 

A naloxone nasal spray, which counteracts an opioid overdose, sits on a desk at a Grand Valley Fire Protection District station
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Garfield County Public Health will now distribute free naloxone to those in need at both its Glenwood Springs and Rifle locations.

Glenwood Springs location: 2014 Blake St.

Rifle location: 195 14th St., Building A

Garfield County Public Health has taken a significant step in the ongoing battle against opioid overdoses by offering free naloxone, a life-saving medication, to its residents.

Commonly known for its brand name, Narcan, naloxone is used to reverse the side effects of opioids such as heroin, oxycodone and even fentanyl. 

Addressing the growing opioid crisis, Garfield County Public Health has taken a bold step by making naloxone available to the community free of charge. The decision will aim to remove financial barriers and ensure that individuals who may encounter or experience an opioid overdose have immediate access to this life-saving medication.

According to a news release from Garfield County Public Health, the opioid suppressant will be available for free to those who come into Garfield County Public Health offices and will be able to take the suppressant home with them.

“Most opioid overdoses happen at home, so we are making these kits available to bring naloxone home,” Garfield County Public Health Nurse Rachel Forsyth said in the release. “People with no medical training can be taught to recognize the symptoms of an opioid overdose and how to use naloxone to effectively reverse it. Knowing how to use it and keeping it within reach can save a life.” 

While naloxone can commonly be associated with those facing substance misuse, Garfield County Public Health Public Information Officer Carrie Godes said the overdose crisis can often come in many forms.

“People may overdose from opioids for a number of reasons,” she told the Post Independent on Wednesday. “Oftentimes, people associate these overdoses with those suffering from substance abuse, but it can be a lot more than that. Those recovering from a surgery can just as likely suffer an opioid overdose for a number of reasons.” 

In a span ranging from the year 2020 to 2021, 2,214 deaths occurred due to opioid overdose throughout the state of Colorado, with 12 of those deaths taking place in Garfield County, according to the Colorado Department of Health. 

On Wednesday, Godes said it’s important for the public health office to do their best to ensure those numbers become more and more limited.

“These overdoses are occurring on a national scale, and this is something that can save a lot of lives,” she said. “It’s important to have naloxone available to ensure that we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of community members.”

With naloxone available on a one free per-person basis, community members can grab theirs at both the Glenwood Springs and Rifle locations. Instructions on how to recognize symptoms of an opioid overdose and how to administer naloxone will be provided, as well as resources for services within Garfield County.

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