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Ozark school district hosts opioid awareness event

Johnson county organizations came together to bring awareness and Narcan training to the community in the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic.

OZARK, Ark. — Friday night people of all ages and different backgrounds gathered to be educated on the opioid crisis and trained on how to administer naloxone.

“I am trying really hard to get this pushed out to the community… it is an epidemic and we need to get the word out to protect our kids,” said Brandy Ellison Health director and registered nurse with Ozark school district.

Ellison says she has grown concerned with the opioid crisis in the community and especially in school systems. 

“We are seeing more and more of a need for it in our community. more and more students are being exposed and we want to get the prevention, awareness, intervention, and treatment out there,” Ellison explained. 

Brandy Ellison organized this event because of the rising opioid crisis in rural communities.

“This is my hometown and I want to make sure the word gets out. if we can save a life that’s what I’m here for.” 

According to Arkansas Take Back, on average 188 Americans die every day from a drug overdose…

“It’s affecting kids, our family, our community, and it really hits all areas... it doesn’t discriminate,” said Joseph Cruz—peer recovery supervisor at johnson county sheriff’s office.

Cruz specializes in peer recovery and encourages everyone to carry naloxone. He showed attendees how to administer naloxone and gave a speech on his personal experience 

“I started my journey on January 23rd of 2013, this is after 17 years of misuse and going in and out of prison getting a lot of different felony charges. "

Organizers say it's important for people who’ve been in those shoes to their stories to provide a connection and hope for the audience. 

If the Ozark school district administration allows it organizers and community leaders would like to have this educational event and training annually. 

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