Overdose awareness day photo collage.

Five Minutes Can Save a Life

Columbia Nursing marks Overdose Awareness Day with free naloxone trainings

International Overdose Awareness Day is held every August 31 to draw attention to the risk of drug overdose and reduce the stigma of drug-related death. This year, Columbia Nursing marked the day by partnering with Columbia University’s Community Wellness Center to train volunteers how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and treat it with naloxone.

Kellie Bryant, DNP, the medical director of Columbia Nursing’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Program, and her volunteer colleagues provided the free, five-minute trainings to 37 people, all of whom also received a free naloxone kit.

MDE-DNP student Robert Tolley put the naloxone training he received at Columbia Nursing to work to help a person in his neighborhood who had overdosed.

"One evening while walking down my block, the skills from my general survey and physical assessment course kicked in as I noticed someone on the ground, barely breathing, and non-responsive,” he recalled. “Within a matter of minutes, I found myself with two doses of naloxone, a pair of gloves, and a small bottle of water, hoping to help someone avoid the need for CPR which was becoming imminent. Thankfully, the naloxone helped until EMS arrived and administered further doses of this life-saving treatment.”

He adds: “I was already an avid supporter of risk reduction and overdose awareness before this event, but even more so afterward. Therefore, I want to encourage anyone and everyone to take the short hour-long training and learn how to identify the signs and symptoms of an overdose, safely provide care, and seek more help when necessary."

Register for a virtual Naloxone training hosted by Columbia Health.