Overcoming Opioids Cures Act

This Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 photo shows an arrangement of pills of the opioid oxycodone-acetaminophen in New York. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

New Orleans public libraries will host training sessions on how to administer opioid overdose-reversal medicine as part of a course aimed at raising awareness of opioid use.

Last year, the New Orleans Health Department trained library staff on using naloxone, which now is stocked at all branches of the New Orleans Public Library.

The trainings beginning Aug. 23 will cover "key facts about the opioid crisis in New Orleans," how to recognize and respond to an overdose, and where to seek assistance for opioid use. The courses are free and no registration is required.

The trainings follow a spike in drug-related and overdose deaths reported from the New Orleans Coronoer's office, aligning with national rates of deaths involving prescription painkillers, heroin and the syntheic opioid fentanyl, among other opiates.

According to the New Orleans Coroner’s office, there were 118 accidental drug-related overdose deaths in New Orleans between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2018.

In 2017, there were 219 accidental drug-related deaths in New Orleans, an increase of 4 percent from 211 in 2016, a year in which drug-related deaths eclipsed the number of murders. More than three-quarters of drug-related deaths in 2017 involved fentanyl. There also were roughly four times the number of drug-related deaths than homicides in Jefferson Parish in 2017.

New Orleans Police Department officers and Emergency Medical Emergency Services responders also are equipped with naloxone, under the brand name Narcan, as part of former Mayor Mitch Landrieu's plan to the address the "opioid epidemic."

Here's the course schedule:

  • 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23 at Norman Mayer Library (3001 Gentilly Blvd.)
  • 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28 East New Orleans Regional Library (5641 Read Blvd.)
  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8 at Algiers Regional Library (3014 Holiday Drive)
  • 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11 at East New Orleans Regional Library (5641 Read Blvd.)
  • 11 a.m.to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 at Mid-City Library (4140 Canal St.)
  • 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25 at Main Library (219 Loyola Ave., third floor meeting room)