Librarians thrust into first-responder role amid opioid epidemic

In several major cities around the country, librarians are learning how to administer the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, according to a CNN report.

The CNN report opens with a description of Philadelphia librarian Chera Kowalski saving an overdosed man with naloxone. After the incident, a security guard named Sterling Davis said, "She's not a paramedic. She's just a teen-adult librarian, and [she's] saved six people since April. That's a lot for a librarian."

This new layer of responsibility for librarians comes as more opioid users are injecting drugs in public spaces. In the last two years, libraries in Denver, San Francisco, suburban Chicago and Reading, Pa., have all housed fatal drug overdoses, according to CNN.

"We have to figure out quickly the critical steps that people have to take so we can be partners in the solution of this problem," Julie Todaro, president of the American Library Association, told CNN.

Ms. Todaro added that her organization is working to create a guide for librarians on how to recognize opioid use and how to address it.

To read the full story in CNN, click here.

More articles on opioids: 
1 in 4 Medicaid members filled an opioid prescription in 2015 
Mallinckrodt partners with Massachusetts hospitals on opioid stewardship program 
Viewpoint: US response to opioid epidemic 'pathetic'

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