The state has launched a program to distribute thousands of opioid overdose rescue kits, like this one, in local communities. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)

Downloadable audio.

Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins and a panel of public health experts will host a town hall meeting on the opioid crisis in Sitka and Alaska on Saturday, February 3rd at 4 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Community members are also encouraged to attend two other events. From 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., community members can come to Centennial Hall and assemble opioid overdose rescue kits. The group is hoping to assemble 100 to 300 kits . From 3:00 to 3:30 p.m., Director Andy Jones will lead a training on how to administer NARCAN, the brand name of a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The panel, which begins at 4 p.m., will include Dr. Jay Butler, Chief Medical Officer for the State of Alaska, and Andy Jones, Director of the Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention. All are invited to share thoughts, ask questions, and learn more about efforts being made on the state and local level to combat the opioid crisis.

Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins was joined in this interview by Loyd Platson, Prevention Director at Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services, and Cass Pook, Health Educator for Meth, Opioid, and Suicide Prevention at SEARHC.

“My daughter, she’s 25. She’s lost a handful of kids her age that she grew up with,” Pook said. “There are people in our lives that we know – that we’ve grown up with – that we might have to use the kit on. I’m really excited about the awareness and the education this event will bring.”