Recognizing a Hero of the Opioid Epidemic

Austin with Wes Adams

“I heard a radio playing, I knocked and nothing…I opened the door and found him lying there,” said Austin Wilson, 17, describing the scene where he found an overdose victim in the bathroom of the Glen Burnie, Md., 7-Eleven where he works.

Austin had previously graduated from a prevention and education course provided by Anne Arundel Medical Center (AAMC) Pathways. He immediately recognized the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and quickly called 911. He never imagined the skills he learned would one day save a person’s life.

In June, State’s Attorney Wes Adams, along with Keisha Brooks and Amanda Larkins, both of Pathways, surprised Austin at the 7-Eleven. Austin received a citation in recognition of his actions.

“He saved a life…Austin is really a hero,” said Adams. “It’s important for me, as the State’s Attorney, to come out and recognize good deeds because we see so many bad ones.”

Recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose

According to the Maryland Health Department, the state saw 1,468 deaths related to overdoses in the third quarter of 2016 alone.

AAMC Pathways offers prevention education as part of its commitment to community outreach. Courses highlight an assortment of topics.

On July 7, the treatment center is offering a 45-minute training on how to recognize an overdose and administer Naloxone (“Narcan”), an opioid overdose reversing drug available over-the-counter at Maryland pharmacies. Register by emailing dwatkins@aahs.org or sign up online.

If you are ever a bystander at the scene of an overdose, seek immediate medical help. Signs of opioid overdose may include:

  • euphoria
  • drowsiness
  • respiratory depression
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constricted pupils

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