Webinar will provide Narcan education for local nightclubs
Activists are turning a spotlight onto the night scene and drug overdoses with a free webinar.
"Fentanyl at Night", is the name of a free webinar aimed at informing nightlife business owners, event producers, and community leaders about stopping overdoses in the night scene.
“It's going to be talking about how fentanyl is going to affect people in that environment and what we can do about it and be proactive,” said Nathan Smiddy, who also goes by Narcan Nate. He distributes Narcan kits and fentanyl test strips to the community and and will be one of the webinar speakers.
Smiddy said drugs in the night scene are more common than people think, and being prepared could save someone's life.
"People don't want to admit this, but if you have a restaurant, (or) you have a bar, (or) if you have a club, people are going to use drugs at your establishment," Smiddy said. "Sometimes these drugs have fentanyl in them and sometimes the consumer doesn’t know it, a lot of times the dealer doesn’t know it."
Smiddy said the webinar is about being proactive. He has been working to get overdose reversal and prevention kits into any establishments interested in them.
"Would you rather have naloxone on hand and save somebody's life or not?" he asked, and outlined what might happen for businesses without the kits: "And then your bar, your restaurant, gets shut down, you have a crime scene, an investigation, and someone just lost their life."
Marketing director, Brittany Leach has worked in the nightclub scene in Hillcrest for over a decade.
"Just like any bar and club in in any decade, drugs have always been present. But this fentanyl crisis that has just kind of come around the corner — at least that's how it feels — is a lot more severe and harsh and fast than anything I've ever seen within our community before," she said. "It definitely feels like we need to be in crisis mode."
Leach said many business owners she works with are conscious of the drug overdose problems and have taken the time to train their staff on overdose reversals.
"You don't have to be a druggie for this to affect you," she said. "This is everywhere right now, and so I know that a lot of our community has taken the time to go to trainings on what to do with overdoses. We're trying to put Narcan in as many of our facilities as we can, and train staff and make sure that they understand how to use that."
But many businesses don’t want to offer naloxone for fear of being labeled as a place where drugs are being used. Leach said that is a stereotype that needs to be turned around.
"You have to be honest with what's going on, and it's everywhere, and the best thing that we can do is be prepared. That's it. We're not playing, placing blame on any anyone or anything. The best that we can do is provide help and answers," Leach said.
The "Fentanyl at Night' webinar is open to the public and will take place Wednesday at 1 p.m. Registration information can be found here.