BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As the fentanyl crisis continues in the U.S., Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville is working to find solutions to help save lives. He hosted a roundtable Wednesday with local experts.
State leaders are working to bring awareness to the fentanyl crisis and what’s being done to address it. That was the topic up for discussion during Wednesday’s roundtable.
The roundtable, hosted by Senator Tommy Tuberville, included expert panelists Shereda Finch, Executive Director of the Council on Substance Abuse; Sheriff Jay Jones, President of Alabama Sheriffs’ Association; and UAB Addiction Specialist Dr. Stefen Kertesz. It was moderated by AL.com’s Ivana Hrynkiw.
The big take away from the discussion is that fentanyl deaths and overdoses are typically accidental. Experts said many people who take it are not aware that is what they are taking, or they are not aware it’s laced in other drugs.
Kertesz said he believes having Naloxone, which is a medicine that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose, readily available can help save lives.
“When you go to the YMCA, there is a defibrillator on the wall,” Kertesz said. “We all saw this with Damar Hamlin and the football game. They rescued someone by using the defibrillator. I actually think we should have that Naloxone readily available. It will not cause harm to a person to receives it,”
Kertesz said over 370 people last year died form an opioid overdose in Alabama. He believes most of those were fentanyl related deaths.
The panel agreed that education will play a big role in addressing the crisis, especially when it comes to young people.