Community, Latest News

Monongalia County QRT holds Free Naloxone Day April 18 in 6 locales

Members of the Monongalia County Quick Response Team (QRT) will again provide free life-saving medication for individuals who overdose on opioids during Free Naloxone Day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday.

Stations will be set up at six locations around Morgantown and they will be staffed with Mon County QRT members and volunteers, who will distribute naloxone and fentanyl test strips, as well as demonstrate how to administer naloxone.

“We’ve been successful in teaching community members about naloxone and how to administer it for several years now,” said Brittany Irick, the QRT coordinator as well as a grant writer at Monongalia County Health Department.

“Now we’re accustomed to talking to individuals who are already familiar with naloxone and how to use it,” Irick added. “But we’re also happy to have the opportunity to educate new people about it.”

Stations will be set up at the Spruce Street United Methodist Church, McDonald’s restaurants in Westover and Sabraton, the WVU Health Sciences Center at the pylons, inside the WVU Student Rec Center and at the WVU Mountainlair by the main entrance.

“We feel it’s important to distribute naloxone not only to the community, but to also target West Virginia University students,” said Joe Klass, chief of operations for MCHD’s Threat Preparedness program as well as a paramedic who conducts naloxone training year-round.

“These days, it’s possible for students, or anyone, to be using recreational drugs and accidentally ingest fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is sometimes added to less dangerous drugs. It’s known to be deadly in very small quantities.”

This is why the fentanyl strips that are also distributed on Free Naloxone Day are also very important, Klass added.

Klass and Irick recommend keeping naloxone on hand in order to be ready to help anyone who might need it.

“It could be a stranger, a friend or even a member of your family,” Irick said.

It could be due to someone struggling with substance use disorder, but there also have been instances of elderly people or those with dementia taking the wrong dose of prescription medication.

“And we’ve also seen cases of children getting into a medicine cabinet,” Klass said. “Keeping naloxone in a first aid kit and your medicine cabinet at home, in addition to with you when you’re out and about, are great ideas.”

Naloxone binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of opioids, such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone, according to information on the website of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Mon County QRT will be distributing the Narcan brand of naloxone, which is easily administered as a nose spray.

The Monongalia County QRT is made up of several community organizations, including West Virginia Sober Living, organized by Monongalia County Health Department, which receives grant money to operate it.

QRT members receive overdose reports from MECCA 911, EMS and police. Within 24-72 hours, members of WV PEERS, part of West Virginia Sober Living, make contact with the individuals to try to connect them with rehabilitation treatment as well as connect them to services.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering to help at Free Naloxone Day can sign up online. WVU students can sign up via iServe.

The links are also on MCHD’s Facebook and Twitter pages for easier access.

“Free Naloxone Day is full of camaraderie and it feels great to meet people and help them learn how to give back to their community,” Irick said.

For up-to-date information on health and wellness in Monongalia County, check out and follow the health department on Facebook and Twitter @WVMCHD and on Instagram at #wvmchd.