Those looking to learn more about the growing heroin epidemic can take advantage of an opportunity being provided to the community by the Ocean View Police Department next week.
On Thursday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m., the OVPD, along with Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, will be holding Delaware Overdose Survival Education (DOSE).
“They have advertised courses statewide and were only holding one in Sussex, in the Rehoboth area,” explained OVPD Chief Ken McLaughlin. “We reached out to them to see if we could host a second one.”
McLaughlin said it’s his goal in 2015 to work on the area’s heroin problem.
“For 2015, we’ve identified the heroin problem as a big issue that we want to tackle,” he said.
The department has already taken steps on that front by having an anonymous no-questions-asked drug drop-off box in town hall and a new drug-detecting K-9 unit, as well as officer training.
McLaughlin stated that the department also hopes to do community outreach and education.
“This is our first stab at that,” he said.
According to Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, DOSE is a program designed for anyone who wants to help opiate users, including themselves, avoid and survive an overdose.
Those who complete the one-hour training workshop will receive a certificate of completion. With the certificate, participants can then talk to their doctor about receiving a prescription for Naloxone — more commonly known as Narcan — which can counteract the effects of an opiate overdose.
“You don’t have to come to the class and get Narcan if you don’t want it,” added McLaughlin. “It’s an educational program on heroin and overdoses. It’s a good workshop just to address those topics.
“Even if you don’t want to get the Narcan, we’re still encouraging people to come out and learn more about the heroin problem in Delaware.”
The class is free and open to the public. McLaughlin said those who wish to purchase a Narcan kit can purchase them for approximately $50. He noted, however, that there are grant programs to help supplement the cost of the kits for those who cannot afford them.
McLaughlin said “anybody and everybody” should attend the DOSE workshop.
“This problem with the heroin use in Delaware is impacting everyone in a lot of different ways. We have people that are addicts themselves who are suffering; we have people who have a family member or loved one who’s an addict and suffering.
“It’s impacting everyone in so many different ways. This workshop is a great opportunity for people to come out and learn more about this epidemic and maybe pick up some tips as to how they can help someone out who is suffering or maybe even prevent an addiction from being started.”
McLaughlin said everyone should educate themselves regarding the “big problem” that is heroin.
According to the New Castle County Police Department, said McLaughlin, between 2012 and 2014 that department has seen a 2,206 percent increase in heroin usage, an 860 percent increase in heroin-related arrests and a 2,000 percent increase in the seizure of heroin products. He said it is a problem that needs to be addressed, with more individuals taking the initiative to become educated.
“Everyone is suffering from this epidemic, and we encourage people to come and learn more about it,” he said.
McLaughlin said the workshop is one of many outreach programs his department plans to hold in 2015.
The Ocean View Police Department is located in the Wallace A. Melson Municipal Building at 201 Central Avenue. in Ocean View.