MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) – Fifty bars and restaurants in the Twin Cities will receive naloxone kits this month, as industry leaders look for ways to save lives during an unprecedented rise in overdose deaths.
The nonprofit Serving These Serving has partnered with Southside Harm Reduction Services to deliver the kits for free, as they say they’re seeing more overdoses in bars and nightclubs.
“We are on the front line whether we like it or not,” said Sarah Norton of Serving These Serving. “So the better prepared we are to take care of people, the better off we’ll all be.”
Opioid-related deaths in Minnesota have been on the rise since 2000, but deaths increased in the first year of the pandemic. According to Southside Harm Reduction, if someone overdoses in a bar, having naloxone on hand could mean the difference between life and death.
“Minutes really matter in an overdose,” said Kor Pace of Southside Harm Reduction. “Being able to introduce naloxone to someone immediately, and the more people trained to be able to identify an overdose and respond to it, the better.”
At the Dark Horse Bar and Eatery, bar manager Brian McCulloch accepted the free kit despite never having had an incident at their bar.
“Obviously hopefully we never need to use it, but it’s here if we do,” McCulloch said. “It’s better to have it and not need it than not to have it and need it.”
Norton says all 50 kits are already reserved, but Southside Harm Reduction says they will deliver a kit free of charge to any facility that needs it.