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SHELBY COUNTY, TN – Shelby County Health Department (SCHD), in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health, is distributing free opioid overdose harm reduction kits throughout Shelby County while supplies last.
The opioid overdose harm reduction kits, containing two doses of nasal spray naloxone and ten fentanyl test strips, with instructions for each, are available for pickup on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Health Department’s headquarters at 814 Jefferson Avenue and the satellite public health clinics listed below:
“From 2018 to 2020, overdoses killed more people in Shelby County than automobile accidents,” said Dr. Michelle Taylor, Shelby County Health Department Director-Health Officer. “The Health Department and community partners are distributing harm reduction kits containing naloxone and fentanyl test strips to save lives. Almost anyone can administer naloxone. It saves the lives of people who have overdosed on opioids and does not harm people who are not experiencing an overdose. I strongly encourage everyone to keep a harm reduction kit if needed.”
The risk of accidental overdose is greater than ever because of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than heroin and is the most common drug involved in overdose deaths. It is often added to other drugs sold on the street. It can also be pressed into pills that look identical to prescription pills (Xanax, OxyContin, hydrocodone) that are often sold illicitly. A user can ingest a deadly dose of fentanyl without knowing it. Fentanyl test strips are small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl, potentially allowing users to take precautions.
Shelby County Health Department’s Opioid Response team also distributes harm reduction kits at outreach events in communities with high overdose rates. To learn more about Shelby County Health Department’s programs and services, please visit our website: www.shelbytnhealth.com.