Ohio urges drug users’ loved ones to get overdose antidote

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio is urging drug users’ relatives and friends to know signs of an overdose and obtain an antidote as part of a new, six-month public awareness campaign.

The Department of Health says the effort launching Monday targets 15 counties hit hard by overdose deaths related to the potent, synthetic painkiller fentanyl, which can be laced with heroin or disguised to look like less powerful painkillers. The campaign includes 36 billboards, a radio message and mobile and digital advertising.

The department encourages drug users’ loved ones to get the overdose antidote naloxone (nuh-LAWKS’-ohn). It can be acquired without a prescription and administered even before emergency responders arrive.

The department’s medical director says even if naloxone is on hand, it’s important that someone call 911 if an overdose is suspected.

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