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Overdose antidote giveaway planned for Thursday in Medford

The nonprofit group Max’s Mission will give away free naloxone, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday at Hawthorne Park, located along Hawthorne Street in Medford.

The public is invited to drop in at any time during the event. Training on how to respond to an overdose, including administering naloxone in an easy-to-use nasal spray form, takes about 20 minutes.

The antidote can quickly reverse the effects of an overdose from heroin and prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet.

People who can’t attend a training event and need a naloxone kit can visit maxsmission.org to watch training videos on administering Narcan, the brand name for naloxone. They can sign up to receive a naloxone kit by mail.

Naloxone is also available for purchase without a prescription at most pharmacies in Oregon.

So far in 2021, Jackson County has issued two overdose alert warnings due to a rise in overdose deaths and overdose-related emergency room admissions. The county is still in the midst of the second alert.

Public health officials believe some of the overdoses may be tied to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl can be mixed with heroin or other drugs and counterfeit pain pills. Some people use it in powder form or on blotter paper or in eye droppers or nasal sprays.

Tiny amounts of fentanyl, which is often made and sold illegally with no controls on its strength, can prove deadly.

Naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Associated Press photo