Health Dept. Gets Help In Drug Fight

Kits aid in disposal of unused medicine

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department has received new weapons for its efforts to fight drug abuse.

Howard Gamble, administrator of the department, showed the donated items during the Board of Health meeting Tuesday. Gamble said the Community Impact Coalition has given the health department more than 100 Deterra Drug Deactivation System kits for disposal of unwanted prescription drugs.

The free kits can be obtained at the health department’s offices in the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. A person can place leftover pills, patches or liquid drugs in the kit, which contains charcoal. When warm water is added to the pouch, the drug solidifies and becomes unusable.

The pouch then can be thrown out with household trash, Gamble said. The new method of disposal offers an alternative to taking unwanted medications to a drug collection event.

Gamble said the department also received a grant from Evzio, a drug firm, for 200 kits to dispense naxolone through an auto injector. The kits will be available to people who undergo training from the department to administer naxolone to reverse an opioid overdose.

“It’s a little grant that helps us with our program of Narcan education and going out to the community,” he said. “It’s a nice little addition to the department.”

The health department also provides Narcan in the form of a nasal spray, but those supplies are beginning to expire, he said. The West Virginia Bureau of Public Health isn’t supplying Narcan nasal sprays and atomizers to local departments anymore, he added.

Meanwhile, Gamble said the Fitzsimmons Foundation awarded a $16,000 grant to the health department and the Ohio County Emergency Management Agency to purchase 30 bleeding control kits. The “Stop the Bleed” kits are designed for handling mass casualty wounds. Gamble said each unit contains eight individual bleeding control kits.

“We hope to never have to use it,” he said.

The bleeding control kits will be placed in all schools in the county, as well as at West Virginia Northern Community College, West Liberty University, Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling Island Stadium and the Capitol Theatre.

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