A group of IUPUC nursing students is planning an event to help the community understand how professionals work at the scene of drug overdoses.

The session will be 2 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Columbus Learning Center auditorium, 4555 Central Ave., and will feature panelists talking about the opioid epidemic, said Ashlie Koth, a senior nursing student who is helping organize the event.

Speakers on the panel will include Jerry Guise, an emergency services coordinator and battalion chief for the Indianapolis International Airport Fire Department; Cathy Wichman, emergency room director at Schneck Medical Center, Seymour; Lt. Jay Frederick, Columbus Police Department, and Bartholomew County deputy coroner; and Chris Sullivan, patient care coordinator and emergency room nurse in Indianapolis.

The nursing students were ask to organize an interdisciplinary collaborative event and came up with the idea of addressing aspects of the opioid epidemic, Koth said.

The biggest thing that stood out to the nursing students was the stigma attached to the epidemic and to the use of naloxone, administered to overdose victims, and how many people believe the opioid antidote is a negative influence in the fight against drug abuse, she said.

“We want to talk about the use of the drug as a way of saving lives,” she said. “Maybe it is a negative that it has to be used, but it’s a positive in that it can safe a life.”

Representatives from Overdose Lifeline will provide training in the use of naloxone, which is available over the counter at drug stores across Indiana, Koth said.

A question-and-answer session is planned to allow attendees to learn more about drug addiction, naloxone and recovery options, Koth said.

If you go

What: Narcan Awareness Event

When: 2 p.m. Dec. 1

Where: IUPUC, at the Columbus Learning Center Auditorium, 4555 Central Ave.

How much: Free

Also: Snacks will be provided.

Sponsored by: Indiana University School of Nursing and IUPUC nursing students

For more information: email akoth@iupui.edu

About Overdose Lifeline

The nonprofit, based in Indianapolis, was founded in 2014 to prevent opioid deaths and reduce the stigma surrounding addiction. It was founded by Justin Phillips, whose son Aaron died after a heroin overdose in October 2013. In addition to working to prevent overdoses, the organization also works to provide naloxone to first responders and to the public, and to provide treatment and recovery support tools to the community.

Information: Visit overdose-lifeline.org

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.