Wheeling bishop asks churches to carry naloxone
OHIO COUNTY, W. Va. —
The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia is requesting that parishes have naloxone available and are also trained on how to use it.
"West Virginia continues to lead the United States in opioid overdose hospitalizations and deaths,” said Bishop Michie Klusmeyer.
Bishop Klusmeyer says the opioid issue in West Virginia is getting worse.
“I have heard first-hand accounts of people overdosing literally on the steps of churches,” he said.
That's why Bishop Klusmeyer gathered with 350 clergy from around the state to discuss the problem of substance abuse disorder.
He's encouraging Episcopal churches in West Virginia to carry naloxone - a medication used to reverse an opioid overdose.
"I do believe that each of our churches ought to have people within the buildings that have been properly and legally trained by health departments or md's and have it available,” Bishop Klusmeyer said.
It's a request, not a mandate. Currently, the Wheeling Episcopal churches: St. Matthew's, St. Luke's and Lawrencefield Parish are discussing it.
"The clergy in Wheeling are having that conversation and so it could happen, but I don’t know yet," Bishop Klusmeyer said.
He says most churches have AED's, and he doesn't see much difference in having naloxone available.
"It is a reality in the state of West Virginia and I think we need to face that reality, and we have an opportunity to literally save lives,” Bishop Klusmeyer said.