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UT to host heroin overdose simulation Feb. 29

The University of Toledo and Team Recovery will simulate treating a heroin overdose situation to help fight Ohio’s heroin epidemic.

The simulation, which will include health science students, faculty and staff, will be Monday, Feb. 29, at 8 a.m. in UT’s Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center on Health Science Campus.

Community partners have been invited to the first floor theater to watch a live video feed being filmed one floor above in the state-of-the-art medical education simulation suites.

“You will experience the high-intensity process, emotions, and medical treatment of heroin overdose starting inside a home and hopefully feel a connection to what is happening to people of all ages and walks of life in our community,” Tia Hornish, UT clinical simulation and education research associate, said.

“The patient will be one of our human simulators. Students will act as the patient’s family and friends inside the apartment attempting to administer the antidote drug Narcan, or Naloxone, which is now available at pharmacies over-the-counter,” Hornish said. “Toledo Fire Department medic students will serve as first responders who transport the patient to the hospital. UT medical, nursing and physician’s assistant students will next take over trying to save the patient’s life.”

When the scenario ends, students and doctors will meet the guests in the theater to discuss the exercise and what can be done to respond better.

Representatives from Team Recovery, a local organization of recovering heroin addicts who are working to help other addicts get clean, will answer questions with scenario participants beginning at 9:30 a.m.

“Narcan saved my life,” said Matt Bell, one of the founders of Team Recovery, who overdosed on heroin in fall 2014. “I graduated from high school with a 4.0 GPA, but dropped out of UT after pain pills from a baseball injury led me ultimately to heroin addiction. There is a way out. This simulation may be scary to see, but people need to understand the severity and prevalence of what is happening inside so many homes in our area.”

Team Recovery holds family support group meetings once a week. Representatives also share their stories in school classrooms from sixth grade through college to spread prevention awareness.

“As health-care providers, we need to be able to understand that the heroin epidemic is not discriminating against anyone and provide resources to help addicts,” Hornish said.

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