This month, the Community Action Committee of Pike County (Pike CAC) was approved to be the Lead Agency for Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) in Pike County. Project DAWN is a program in Ohio, operating under the Ohio Department of Health, which provides access to naloxone (Narcan) at no cost to community members. With this program, Narcan is available through Brandi Hawthorne at the Workforce & Business Development Program at Pike CAC and Shanna Lett at the Pike County Court Probation Department. Pike County residents are provided these units at no cost and complete anonymity.
As chair of Pike County Drug Abuse Prevention & Reentry Coalition (PCDAPRC), Brandi Hawthorne took the lead in bringing this initiative to Pike CAC. PCDAPRC was previously distributing Narcan under commitment with Harm Reduction Ohio as a lay distributor. The kits have been and will continue to be provided in the community to clients on a case by case basis through the PCDAPRC Post Overdose Response Team, community events, and through local partnering agencies who request to have them on site.
“This initiative is very close to our hearts, as some of our clients and staff would not be here without Narcan,” stated Brandi Hawthorne. “Regardless of anyone’s opinions about the need for this life-saving solution, no life should be lost when compassion is involved.”
Project DAWN is a network of Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Programs (OENDP) coordinated by the Ohio Department of Health. Narcan is the medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin, illicit fentanyl, or prescription pain medications).When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing. Naloxone has been used safely by emergency medical professionals for more than 40 years and has only one critical function: to prevent overdose death by reversing the effects of opioids. Naloxone is a safe, non-controlled drug and has no potential for abuse.
Project DAWN is named in memory of Leslie Dawn Cooper, who struggled with substance use disorder for many years before dying from a witnessed opioid overdose on Oct. 3, 2009. The first Project DAWN site was established in Leslie’s hometown of Portsmouth, Ohio, in 2012. Since then, Project DAWN has expanded to a collective of more than 260 naloxone distribution sites that cover 65 of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Below is Pike County's year to date overdose reports from PCDAPRC proving the need for this life saving tool: