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Lt. Governor, St. Francis team deliver Narcan to Wilmington homeless


Dr. Sandra Gibney of St. Francis Hospital’s emergency department, Holly Rybinski of Brandywine Counselling, and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long rode along with EMS to deliver the Narcan free of charge to a few small encampments.


According to the team, one of them was where a recent overdose death had occurred.


They described it as an exploratory “boots on the ground” mission for Lt. Gov. Hall-Long’s Behavioral Health Consortium, which is working to address mental health and substance abuse issues in the state.

Narcan, which blocks the effects of opioids in the event of an overdose, is now carried by first responders such as police, fire and EMS, and is available over-the-counter to civilians—but is often cost-prohibitive.

And Gibney says sometimes first responders can’t get to an overdose victim fast enough.

“I want to believe that if we had these out here a month ago, two people wouldn’t have been dead. And if it’s one a day in the state, boom," she said. "I’ve moved the needle."

The group offered both nasal spray and epi-pen style injection doses at a small encampment, a park pavilion and a parking lot where two people were living out of a car. They also offered the medication outside of the Sunday Breakfast Mission.

Some readily accepted the medication. Others insisted they didn’t need it.

Gibney gave tutorials on how to administer it. She said her goals for getting out into the community go beyond giving out Narcan.

“Just kind of connect. And let them know that we’re here for them. And see what they need,” she said.

Lt. Gov. Hall-Long hopes the Behavioral Health Consortium can help the hospital and community partners continue to distribute the antidote and other health services—in a mobile fashion—to Wilmington residents who need it.

Community Wellness Advocate Holly Rybinski was also with the team Tuesday. She says those in need of Narcan can also get it from Brandywine Counselling and Community Services, which provided the doses for Tuesday’s run.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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