ShareThis Page

Westmoreland libraries prepared to treat overdoses

Renatta Signorini
| Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, 2:00 p.m.
A naloxone nasal injection device
Erica Dietz | Trib Total Media
A naloxone nasal injection device

Libraries in Westmoreland County are stocking up on a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Last week, staff members at a few facilities were trained in how to recognize the signs of an overdose and administer naloxone.

“We can potentially save someone's life just by having it there,” said Jessica Beichler, director of Trafford Community Public Library.

The Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission provided training and naloxone kits — which each contain two doses of naloxone nasal spray — to staff members at libraries in Trafford, Latrobe, Greensburg and Sewickley Township. The kits were provided through commission funding and a Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency program , said Liz Comer, director of clinical and case management services.

Staff members at Mt. Pleasant and Delmont libraries plan to get the training and kits, Comer said.

“We're hoping more will get on board,” she said.

The type of community members who are considered first responders in the national drug epidemic is changing. Police and paramedics routinely revive victims of drug overdoses, but naloxone kits have been distributed locally to a variety of groups, including firefighters, shelters, probation officials and others.

The Allegheny County Health Department trained Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh employees last year.

Five kits are placed strategically around Greensburg Hempfield Area Library, said director Casey Sirochman, who was trained with about a dozen staff members last week. An additional kit is at the library's branch facility in Youngwood.

“We have a defibrillator here, so why not have” another method to help someone during an emergency, Sirochman said.

“That's our hope, is to save lives,” she said, adding that libraries in other parts of the country have had problems with patrons overdosing in the facility.

In 2017, 194 people died from a drug overdose in Westmoreland County, according to coroner data. In the two previous years combined, 300 deaths in the county were attributed to a drug overdose.

Two kits are available for use at the Trafford library, where eight staff members were trained, Beichler said.

“We recognize that it is a growing problem and I know that libraries in other areas have started doing this,” she said. “I think it's important that we are trained in how to recognize signs and help where we can.”

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, or via Twitter @byrenatta.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me