WINSTON-SALEM — UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina, Walgreens and Project Lazarus are working together to fight the opioid epidemic in Forsyth County and across the state. The collaboration will promote public awareness of the epidemic; expand access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone; and promote the safe use, storage and disposal of opioid medications.
In support of the state’s Opioid Action Plan, UnitedHealthcare, Walgreens and Project Lazarus have created a training video to educate North Carolina first responders and community members about the signs of opioid overdose, prevention of opioid misuse and the correct administration of life-saving medications. The video was introduced at an event held June 4 at Forsyth County EMS, where the organizations distributed 1,000 free doses of naloxone to Forsyth County first responders.
Forsyth County was selected to receive the naloxone administration kits based on the county’s need. Between 1999 and 2016, there have been more than 450 opioid-related deaths in Forsyth County. Statewide, four North Carolinians die each day from opioid overdose, creating a public health crisis.
“UnitedHealthcare and Walgreens are working with care providers, government agencies, consumers and community organizations like Project Lazarus to prevent improper opioid use, and guide those who are struggling with addiction into the individualized treatment and life-long recovery they deserve,” said Anita Bachmann, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of North Carolina CEO.
“The loss of life and subsequent disruption to families and communities from opioid overdoses must be prevented,” said Brennan Beck, regional healthcare director for Walgreens. “By partnering with care providers and communities and using powerful data and analytics, we can prevent opioid misuse and addiction, deliver tailored treatment to those who are addicted and support long-term recovery.”
The video will be available online this month and will be disseminated statewide to address training and education needs in communities across North Carolina.
“There is a significant gap in the availability of training materials for responding to an opioid overdose. This online training video will enable organizations in the state to educate their communities on the importance of early intervention during an overdose to hopefully prevent future overdose-related deaths,” said Fred Brason, president and CEO of Project Lazarus.
Brason added that the video will also serve as a trusted source of information for safe medication management and alternatives to opioid use. Project Lazarus works to reduce overdose-related deaths by empowering individuals and communities to take care of their own health and providing resources to prevent overdose.