Morrow County begins “Project DAWN” to prevent opioid overdoses

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

To help combat overdose deaths associated with the prevelent opioid problem in Ohio, Morrow has joined the growing list of counties implementing ‘Project Dawn’, a community-based drug overdose education and Naloxone distribution program.

Morrow County Health Deptartment Nursing Director, Kay Benick, RN, BSN spoke at the county elected officials meeting June 6 about the project.

The health department applied for and received a grant to be a part of the program that prevents drug overdose deaths with Naloxone, a drug known for its ability to prevent overdoses.

When administered during an overdose, Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes.

The Morrow County Health Department is now equipped with kits complete with Naloxone, which can be administered at ‘Project Dawn’ sites to participants in the program.

Participants will receive training to recognize the signs and symptoms of overdose, how to perform rescue breathing and how to administer Naloxone after notifying emergency services.

As a distribution and training site, Morrow County will cooperate with several other counties to institute the program.

Benick mentioned Knox, Union and Holmes among other counties that would be a part of the Morrow County site.

There are 44 counties in the state that are training and distribution sites, which are open to the public and provide training and Naloxone kits at no cost.

There are also a number of hospitals and pharmacies that are sites, which dispense Naloxone without a prescription according to protocol. There is a complete listing of Project Dawn sites and more information at

The Morrow County Health Department has coordinated with Sheriff Brenneman, and police departments in the county to have Naloxone kits, as well as train and educate officers in the program.

Benick said it is a goal of their program to train 300 participants by April 2017. School nurses and other health professionals and agencies will participate in the program as well.

Benick gave the commissioners and other elected officials a map of Ohio Drug Overdose Data by county. She noted that Morrow County’s rate of death by overdose is higher than many other counties. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Jan. 1, 2016, Ohio ranked second in the number of drug overdose deaths in the country after


The primary purpose of Naloxone is to prevent death. There is no potential for abuse of the medication. Benick also pointed out that if Naloxone is given to a person who is not having an opioid overdose, there is no harm done.

The commissioners took action to “endorse the Morrow County Health department’s community-based drug overdose and Naloxone distribution program.”

Commissioner, Tom Whiston who is a pharmacist by profession, said “this is a wonderful thing.” He believes the program has the potential to have a positive result for the community and a long-lasting effect.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel

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