Lifesaving Medication Available at Arlington Public Library Branches

Published on June 09, 2022

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The newest addition to Arlington libraries is not a book—it’s the overdose reversal medication Naloxone. Also known as NARCAN, this medication can reverse an overdose from opioids, including prescription painkillers, heroin, and/or fentanyl, in a safe and effective manner.

Starting this month, NARCAN nasal spray has been added to opioid overdose emergency boxes in all seven Arlington Public Library branches as part of the Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative. The boxes are in public access points near the Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at most branches; at Aurora Hills and Glencarlyn, the boxes are in prominent places where employees can easily access them. Included in the emergency boxes are instructions in both English and Spanish.

“Getting NARCAN into Arlington libraries means that lifesaving resources are more readily available in the event that someone is experiencing an overdose,” said Deborah Warren, executive director of the Arlington County Community Services Board and deputy director of the Department of Human Services. “We’ve seen the benefits of having AEDs and first aid kits in our public spaces. This adds an important, potentially lifesaving tool to those same spaces.”

Since January 2020, there have been 206 opioid overdoses in Arlington, 60 of them fatal. Arlington saw 20 fatal overdoses in 2020, another 28 in 2021, and there have been 12 in 2022 as of June 3 (see Opioid Incident Data: Police Investigated Incidents Involving Opioids).

Knowing the signs of a drug overdose is an important step in administering lifesaving medication. Look for these symptoms in an individual who is potentially experiencing a life-threatening event:

  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Blue or grey skin, fingertips, or lips
  • Deep gurgling or rattling snore (also known as the death rattle)
  • Sleeping and cannot be woken up
  • Unresponsive to stimuli (like an earlobe pinch or sternum rub)

About Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative

The County launched its Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative (AARI) in 2017 in response to rising concerns pertaining to opioid abuse in the community. AARI’s primary goals are to prevent individuals from developing a substance use disorder, increase access to and awareness of available treatment resources in the community, and decrease access to opioids through diversion.

Additional AARI efforts involve promoting linkages to care; facilitating co-location of services as part of a comprehensive, integrated approach; reducing stigma associated with substance use and co-occurring disorders; and promoting a philosophy of hope and healing.

About Naloxone/NARCAN

Naloxone/NARCAN is available over the counter without a prescription.  If you or a loved one is experiencing an addiction or have been prescribed powerful opioid painkillers, you should have Naloxone/NARCAN on hand. Arlington Addiction Recovery Initiative offers free harm reduction tools through the mail. Request via email or by filling out this form

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