Teachings of the cedar tree

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; Photos courtesy of Natosha Gobin & Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip Tribal members

“Pray, pull, peel …it’s so peaceful being out there. Being disconnected from the busyness of daily life is refreshing and that silence is healing,” reflected tribal member Natosha Gobin of her day spent walking in the shadows of her ancestors near Lake Chaplain, harvesting cedar. “It’s amazing to watch the experienced ones of the group pull strips and separate them with ease. This is just one of the many ways to stay connected with not only each other but our ancestors, through keeping their teachings alive.”

Coast Salish tribes believe the Creator gave their people cedar as a gift. Traditionally, a prayer was offered to honor the spirit of the tree before harvesting its bark, branches and roots. Their ancestors taught them the importance of respecting cedar and understanding how it is to be used, so that it will be protected for future generations.

Cedar was the perfect resource, providing tools, baskets, bowls and carvings in addition to having medicinal and spiritual purposes. The highly sought after inner bark was separated into strips or shredded for weaving. The processed bark was then used like wool and crafted into clothing, baskets and hats.

Those same traditional teachings are practiced today and passed down to the next generation. Over the weekend of June 15, the Tulalip Tribes membership was given the opportunity to participate in the cultural upbringings of their ancestors by journeying into their ancestral woodlands and gathering cedar. Led by Forestry staff from Tulalip’s Natural Resources Department, participating tribal members ventured just north of Sultan to Lake Chaplain, located on the outskirts of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

The annual cedar harvest showcases a partnership between several agencies working as a team to coordinate this culturally significant opportunity. The Tulalip Natural Resource’s Timber, Fish, and Wildlife Program generally arranges a cedar harvesting site for the upcoming season by utilizing existing relationships with off-reservation landowners and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

“We have grown and maintained a wonderful working relationship with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who provides opportunities to pull cedar bark from trees within DNR’s timber stands that would otherwise not be available to tribal members,” explained David Grover, Tulalip Tribes Forestry Program. “Having opportunities not just to acquire the bark itself, but also to spend time practicing the cultural tradition of harvesting from the cedar trees, and passing that tradition on to the tribal youth is invaluable for the tribe.

“This [opportunity] also offers the DNR foresters that help us on site during these events a chance to gain a better understanding of the forest resources they manage, as well as a unique glimpse into the different types of relationships people have with those resources that are not tied to timber sales,” added Grover.

The relationship Coast Salish peoples have with cedar cannot be understated. Our ancestors relied on the magnificent tree as an integral part of their life on the Northwest Coast. From birth to death, the powerful cedar provided generously for the needs of the people – materially, ceremonially and medicinally. Those teachings have not been lost.

Master weavers, elders, and youth alike all echo the very same cedar harvesting technique employed by their ancestors. With a small ax and carving knife, they skillfully remove strips of bark from designated cedar trees. They then shave off a small section of the rough bark, revealing a smooth tan inner layer. After harvest, the cedar strips are typically laid out to dry for a year before being made into baskets and hats or used in regalia.

Many Tulalip youth participated in the three-day cedar harvesting event, gathering strips for elders and learning techniques of separating the smooth inner bark from the rough outer bark. For some tribal members it was their very first trip to gather cedar, while for others it was another step in the continual journey to connect with the spirits of past and present.

“Thankful for Natural Resources and the Rediscovery Program who constantly advocate and work hard so we can have access to gathering locations,” shared tribal member Theresa Sheldon. “Their work is appreciated and much needed as more and more traditional areas are being gated off and made harder to access.

“Taking our children out to learn how our people harvested cedar is a gift. We were able to share with our young ones that our people have always cared for the grandmother Cedar trees and in return they care for us by providing clothing and protection from the elements. Appreciating each other, sharing our energy together, and respecting our ancestors by teaching our children how to value nature is who we are as a people.”

Cedar bark harvest

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News. Photos courtesy of Ross Fenton & Natosha Gobin

Over the weekend of June 10, the Tulalip Tribes membership was once again presented with the opportunity to participate in the cultural upbringings of their ancestors; specifically by journeying into their ancestral woodlands and using traditional methods to pull, gather, and harvest cedar.

Led by Forestry staff from Tulalip’s Natural Resources Department (NRD), participating tribal members ventured into the 10,000-acre Reiter Foothills State Forest located in Snohomish County 30-miles east of Everett, between Gold Bar and Index.

The annual cedar harvest showcases a partnership between several agencies working as a team to coordinate this culturally significant opportunity. The Tulalip Natural Resource’s Timber, Fish, and Wildlife Program generally arranges a cedar harvesting site for the upcoming season by utilizing existing relationships with off-reservation landowners and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

“The relationships Tulalip Natural and Cultural Resources has nurtured over the years with outside agencies for cultural cedar bark gathering continues to go exceptionally well. For tribal members who base their household incomes on products they make from cedar bark, it’s crucial to maintain these positive relations,” explains Ross Fenton, Forestry Technician II. “This year, it was requested that only 1/3 of the cedar tree diameter be pulled in order to allow them to remain alive; this is how it was done traditionally in the past. The tribal members understand this, and respected the request.”

“There were many Tulalip tribal participants this year of all ages, it is great watching experienced bark pullers teach the future generations,” continues Ross, who was one of the Tulalip Forestry staff members on-site over the weekend. “Some tribal members traveled from as far as Hawaii to reunite with their Tulalip family to pull cedar bark. It’s a cultural activity membership truly yearns for.”

Ancestors of Western Washington tribes relied on cedar bark as a resource for making items for everyday use. Today, tribal members continue harvesting and teaching the handicraft to the next generation by making traditional items such as baskets, hats, regalia and tools.

Master weavers, elders, and youth alike all echo the very same cedar harvesting technique employed by their ancestors. With a small ax and carving knife, they skillfully remove strips of bark from designated cedar trees. They then shave off a small section of the rough bark, revealing a smooth tan inner layer. After harvest, the cedar strips are typically laid out to dry for a year before being made into baskets and hats or used in regalia.

Many Tulalip youth participated in the two-day cedar harvesting event, gathering strips for elders and learning techniques of separating the smooth inner bark from the rough outer bark. For some, this was their first trip to gather cedar.

Lushootseed teacher Natosha Gobin was one of the cultural leaders who made it a priority to pass on the teachings of cedar harvesting. She guided five first-time cedar gatherers whose energetic spirts and eagerness to learn made for a memorable experience. Kylee Sohappy, Martelle Richwine, Kane Hots, Oceana Alday, and Xerxes Myles-Gilford were among those first-time gatherers receiving instructional guidance while offering their support to stock pile cedar for future projects.

“Any opportunity for our community as a whole to learn our culture is important,” says Natosha. “Each time we have a cedar gathering opener, community members who wish to learn how to gather are encouraged to participate. Our Lushootseed department uses the cedar to make roses for funerals and for weaving projects taught in classes and at Language camp. We had asked if any volunteers wanted to join us this year and these youth stepped up to help us out. It is up to us to reach out to our youth and encourage them to learn these types of teachings for the survival of our culture.”

The heart of a cedar

CedarPulling6-27-14A from Brandi Montreuil on Vimeo.

Sisters continue tradition of cedar harvesting

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip tribal member Chelsea Craig separates the inner bark from the outer bark on a strip of red cedar she harvested during an annual cedar harvesting event organized by Tulalip Forestry on June 27-28.Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip tribal member Chelsea Craig separates the inner bark from the outer bark on a strip of red cedar she harvested during an annual cedar harvesting event organized by Tulalip Forestry on June 27-28.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Leaning over a long strip of red cedar placed on her lap, Tulalip tribal member Cerissa “Pipud” Gobin, asked her 4-year-old daughter, Emmy “Pipud” Ramsey, if she knew what was in the center of the cedar tree.

“What is in the center of you? That is right; it is your heart. So in the center of the cedar tree is a heart,” said Gobin, as she continued her methodical rhythm of peeling inner bark from the outer bark on a strip of cedar that was recently cut from a nearby group of trees.

“When I first started pulling I had no idea what I was doing,” said Gobin.  “I learned as I went along. I learned to get the little pieces of bark left on the inside off before you leave, otherwise you are going to spend a lot of time trying to get it off later,” she continued, occasionally looking up from the long strip on her lap to watch her son, Coen, pull another strip of bark off a tall red cedar.

Clustered around Gobin and her sister, Chelsea Craig, also a Tulalip tribal member, were long strips of cedar waiting to have their inner bark stripped, which will be used to make cultural items. Outer bark is left for the forest to reclaim. Both women are educators who plan to use the cedar for in-class projects next year.

Gobin, a high school art educator at Heritage High School, uses the cedar to teach students how to make traditional headbands or bracelets, some of which are later used during graduation ceremonies. Craig, a teacher at Quil Ceda & Tulalip Elementary, uses the cedar to teach youth to make baskets, hats, and pins for potlatch giveaways. Although they teach students how to weave different items, together they weave a cultural foundation for Tulalip youth.

These women are part of a large group of Tulalip tribal members participating in a cedar harvest organized by Tulalip Forestry

Cerissa 'Pipud' Gobin harvested nearly 3 dozen bundles of cedar during the harvesting event organized by Tulalip Forestry on June 27-28.

Cerissa ‘Pipud’ Gobin harvested nearly 3 dozen bundles of cedar during the harvesting event organized by Tulalip Forestry on June 27-28.

Department on June 27-28. The event, and others like it, is made possible by a growing partnership between the Tulalip Tribes and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. The land is owned by DNR, with Sierra Pacific owning the timber. Department of Natural Resources notifies Tulalip Forestry when an area is scheduled to be cleared. This season, 83 acres were available for harvesting cedar.

“Tulalip Forestry worked in conjunction with both agencies’ representatives to coordinate the event and establish ground rules regarding allowable and non-allowable trees to be pulled,” explained Ross Fenton with the Tribe’s forestry department. “The relations Tulalip Forestry has established over the years for cultural cedar bark gathering has gone exceptionally well. Some tribal members base their sole incomes on products they make from cedar bark, so it’s very important we continue to maintain these positive relations.”

“Traditionally we would come out to harvest when the sap would run. That makes it easy to pull it off the tree. This stuff peels so nicely, I am loving it,” said Craig, pausing for a moment to survey the large expanse of trees swaying in the afternoon wind. “It is amazing to sit here and think about how our people used to do this. How they would all come together with their families and gather cedar. Of course they didn’t use the same tools we are using today, but they came out and gathered and made things, some of which we still have today.”

Many Tulalip youth participated in the two-day cedar-harvesting event, gathering strips for elders and learning techniques of separating the smooth inner bark from the rough outer bark. For many, this was their first trip gathering cedar.

“Do you know how the cedar is related to us?” asked Craig to her nephew and nieces, who were struggling to bring the long cedar strips up the steep incline. “She is our grandmother and she is giving us this gift of cedar and we need to thank her.”

“I love being out here,” said Gobin, as she tightly wound her cedar into a bundle tying it off with a scrap of thin cedar. “It is really addicting to be out here stripping the cedar, it is one of my favorite things to do.”

“Yes, grandpa would be proud of us,” remarked Craig.

For more information regarding future cedar harvesting events, please contact Tulalip Forestry at 360-716-4000.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tulalip Lushootseed teachers harvest cedar for funerals use

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News
Lushootseed teachers braved the 70 degree weather this afternoon to harvest cedar for traditional community use. Collaborating with Tulalip Natural Resources, the teachers were able to gather enough cedar bundles to continue providing cedar roses for use in funerals.
The Lushootseed Department provides 150 roses per funeral service and make them traditionally by hand with good hearts and minds, and receive no profit made for this service. Rocky Renecker, with Tulalip Funeral Services, also harvested cedar on behalf of the funeral services team.

The value of saving a life: Proposed law to grant temporary immunity to save lives

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

TULALIP – A proposed new law on the Tulalip Indian Reservation raises the question of the value of life, and in turn the value of saving a life. Called the Lois Luella Jones Law after a victim of overdose, the law would encourage people to seek help from 911 emergency services through temporary immunity, which removes the fear of arrest and or conviction. The intent is to cut down on the number of preventable deaths in the community. There are two drafts of the proposed law with distinct differences, though in each the goal is the same, to encourage people to report emergencies without the fear of self-incrimination.

Rico Jones-Fernandez, who proposed the law for Tulalip, is the son of Lois Luella Jones, for whom the law is so named. He is a strong proponent of 911 Good Samaritan Laws in communities that battle drug addiction.

“This isn’t a law enforcement issue, it’s about saving lives,” he said.

Jones-Fernandez’s draft of the proposed law states that persons seeking medical assistance for a person experiencing an overdose or other life threatening emergent situation are to be granted immunity from arrest and prosecution for minor offenses. In his draft, minor offenses are defined as contributing to the delinquency of an underage person, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and minor in possession. Immunity extends beyond crimes listed to warrants for misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes as well.

“It’s not condoning the crimes and behaviors, it’s saying that a life is more important than a drug charge,” said Jones-Fernandez.

Jones-Fernandez’s draft, as written, has raised question and concern for public safety. Tulalip Prosecutor, Dave Wall, along with reservation attorney, Anthony Jones, also drafted a law that keeps the intent of the law in-tact, while taking into account public safety as a continuing priority. The main difference between the two drafts is the definition of immunity. Jones-Fernandez’s draft explicitly states that the immunity prevents arrest and conviction for crimes listed, whereas the draft written by tribal attorneys reserves the power to arrest yet still extends immunity to convictions for the crimes listed.

Wall said, “The police have a responsibility to public safety, and to keep the peace. They need to retain the power to make arrests.

“Stopping an arrest,” he continued, “that is very hard. Stopping charges or a conviction is much easier. We aren’t rushed to make a decisions like with an arrest. We have time to contemplate circumstances and weigh decisions.”

In addition to concerns surrounding a law enforcement officer’s ability to make arrests, there is a concern regarding warrants. If people are repeat offenders, or have multiple warrants, should those people be eligible for immunity? With regards to misdemeanor warrants and non-violent crime warrants, what defines non-violent crime? Burglary is not a violent crime, yet it is a felony. Should warrants for burglary be overlooked under this law? These are questions the Tulalip Tribal Council will need to answer as they review the two drafts of the proposed law.

“Yes, saving a life is important, but what about the home owner whose property was burglarized. What happens when he learns the police were in extended contact with the burglar, and did nothing, just let him go? What are his rights to justice?” Wall added.

Regardless of the legal and public safety concerns, there is the question of how effective a 911 Good Samaritan Law would be at Tulalip.

“We have nothing to lose. If it is implemented and it is effective, we would be saving that many more lives,” said Jones Fernandez.

Even though both drafts include the provision for immunity from conviction for crimes listed, Jones-Fernandez fears that the tribes’ draft is not protective enough for people seeking medical assistance for overdose victims.

“If it does not protect the caller enough, then the law won’t be effective,” he explained.

Other areas of ambiguity in each draft deal with the terms of immunity, specifically who is eligible for immunity and how long it lasts. If there are ten people at the scene of an incident, but only three were seeking assistance, are all ten granted immunity? It is yet to be clearly defined, though the language of each draft suggests no. The way each draft is worded, immunity is only applicable to those actively seeking medical assistance, or is assisting in some manner. So at a house party, for example, you could not claim to have been unseen in another part of the house and be eligible for immunity. That being said, each draft also puts the burden of discrediting immunity on the prosecution, meaning if someone claims immunity under this law, if it were to pass, the court would have to discredit them, proving beyond a reasonable doubt that this law is not applicable to them.

There is also the question of immunity for people who call repeatedly. As written, neither draft limits how many times you can be granted immunity.

Phino Fernandez, Jones-Fernandez’s brother and fellow supporter of the Lois Luella Jones Law, said, “It can be as repetitious as it needs to be. What makes the 25th life any less important or significant than the first? Why shouldn’t the same value of saving a life apply equally to both?”

It comes back to saving lives. That doesn’t mean people get a free pass, only that the focus has shifted.

“In an emergent situation, we want anyone to feel safe enough to call for assistance to save a life. In terms of the war on drugs, when someone is overdosing, the war has been lost. The battle for that person’s life is now the focus. We can sort out the rest later,” explained Wall.

Both drafts of the law address what happens after the fact. If new crimes and circumstances arise out of the emergent situation, immunity is no longer applicable, and the proposed law would no longer be able to suppress evidence in those cases. That means the temporary immunity ceases after the overdose or emergent situation has concluded, preventing larger crimes that arise from overdose situations to go unchecked.

Wall captured the struggle to balance public safety and the value of saving lives quite eloquently in these few words, “I want us as a community, the tribal court and police included, for the overriding factor of saving lives.”

The law has immense support from the community and from tribal leaders. Aside from concerns to public safety, both drafts of the law express that the value of saving lives is paramount to healing our community, and, for offenders, the value of saving a life is a second chance.

On Thursday, May 22, at 5:30 p.m. at the Tulalip administration building, the CEDAR group will be hosting a community forum on this law. The law is set to be presented to the Tulalip Tribal Council for approval in June.

 

Andrew Gobin: 360-631-7075; agobin@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Gravel Mining Puts Kiowa Sacred Place in Peril

Brian Daffron, Indian Country Today Media Network

The Kiowa Tribe has gathered cedar for ceremonies and prayed on Longhorn Mountain south of Gotebo, Oklahoma for generations. That practice is in serious jeopardy as efforts to mine gravel out of the mountain are scheduled to begin by summer’s end, turning generations of sacred usage into rubble.

“This is where we always come,” said tribal historian Phil Dupoint. “This is where our elders used to come. Maybe they were searching for some kind of power… They would go to Longhorn and different places in the area.”

Dupoint says the cedar gathered from the area has a unique scent, different from any other cedar in the United States and Canada. He said medicine people in the Kiowa Tribe would also leave spiritual power for future generations on the mountain.

The mountain being in jeopardy can be traced back to the creation of the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache Reservation through the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867, which placed the tribes’ reservation in southwest Oklahoma, where Longhorn Mountain is. By 1901, the Jerome Agreement opened the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache Reservation to non-Indian settelement, after the KCA familes were allotted 160 acres each.

Kiowa tribal historian Phil Dupoint and Kiowa Museum Director Amie Tah-Bone are both trying to stop the gravel mining on Longhorn Mountain in Oklahoma. (Brian Daffron)
Kiowa tribal historian Phil Dupoint and Kiowa Museum Director Amie Tah-Bone are both trying to stop the gravel mining on Longhorn Mountain in Oklahoma. (Brian Daffron)

 

Sections of the mountain were alloted to Kiowa families, but those lands were eventually sold to non-Indians—five non-Indian familes currently own the Longhorn Mountain area. It is through what Dupoint refers to as a “gentleman’s agreement” that the Kiowa have entered the mountain on the east side to gather cedar.

Mining is scheduled to begin on the west side of the mountain this summer. A blasting permit was issued by the Oklahoma Department of Mines to the Material Service Corporation, according to Amie Tah-Bone, the Kiowa Museum director. Rock crushing activities will then be under the supervision of Stewart Stone, based out of Cushing, Oklahoma. Calls placed to the Oklahoma Department of Mines and to Stone have not been returned.

Dust from the mining activities on the west side have the potential to impact the area’s environment, ranging from reduction of air quality, damage to surrounding crops and livestock, and killing of the cedar trees on the mountain.

“It’s a hard and complex situation,” said Tah-Bone. “We’re at a disadvantage. It’s not trust land. It’s not federal land. It’s privately owned land, and we don’t have a right to it. We thank the people on the eastern side for their generosity in letting us have access to it. They could throw us in jail for trespassing, but they don’t. We are working on it… and doing everything we can think of to stop it. It might take some time. We want people to know we’re doing the best that we can.”

The Kiowa have been meeting with landowners as well as state and federal officials about the issue. Kiowa officials have also been meeting with the farmers and ranchers in the surrounding region about the environmental impact of the mining. Dupoint and Tah-Bone encourage those who want to help to contact the Kiowa Tribe at 580-654-2300 or email pr@kiowatribe.org.

Previous attempts to purchase the land have not been successful. For now, efforts to halt construction rest with those who hold the surface and mineral rights to the mountain—the landowners—and those who are spiritually connected to the mountain.

“Right now, it’s just to work with the landowners,” Dupoint said. “Somewhere down the line, if it’s not them, maybe their offspring. They may feel passion; they may be able to talk with us and give us the opportunity to purchase it back, or they would deed it back to us. We don’t know what goes on in a man’s mind or in his heart.”

 

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com//2013/07/12/gravel-mining-puts-kiowa-sacred-place-peril-150378

Save a life from opiate overdose

By Monica Brown, Tulalip News Writer

TULALIP, Wash. – The Tulalip CEDAR (Community Engaged and Dedicated to Addiction Recovery) group invited Caleb Banta-Green, PhD to speak at their meeting on April 25, 2013. Banta-Green is the principle investigator on an overdose prevention program for Washington State and has dedicated time to developing a prevention program and educating communities about overdosing risks.

Often times an opiate overdose won’t occur until 3-4 hours after the person takes them. The person will be unresponsive, have shallow breathing that may sound like gasping or choking, and may be pale blue or grey in color. Banta-Green pointed out that rescue breathing can be done to prevent a potential fatality and suggests the first thing you need to do is look for signs of breathing and a heartbeat. If there is no heartbeat, perform CPR. If there is a heartbeat but the person is having trouble breathing or not breathing at all, begin the rescue breathing; “An opiate overdose is about oxygen; it’s about getting oxygen to the person’s brain and doing rescue breathing,” said Banta-Green.

Along with rescue breathing, Banta-Green suggests administering Naloxone. Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is a prescribed medication that, once administered, blocks the person’s opioid receptors and allows the overdose victim to breathe normally for a short period of time. Depending on how much of the opioid the person has taken they may need to be given Naloxone every 30-90 minutes until they stabilize.

Naloxone can be given in the nose (intranasal spray) or in the muscle (intramuscular injection) and is safe to give even if the person is not overdosing on opioids. Since Naloxone is purely an opioid antagonist it has been approved to help binge eaters from splurging on fatty sweets like chocolate.

Washington State law (RCW 69.50.315) allows anyone at risk of having, or witnessing, an opioid drug overdose to obtain a prescription of naloxone. If you or your friends or family members use opioids medicinally or recreationally, you are able to obtain a prescription and carry it with you for emergencies. The CEDAR group is currently working with Tribal Police, Tulalip Pharmacy and the Health Clinic to start a prevention program at Tulalip which will offer prescriptions of Naloxone and training of how to give rescue breathing and administer Naloxone.

To find an overdose prevention program near you that gives prescriptions for Naloxone and training of how to administer, please visit this website: http://www.stopoverdose.org/faq.htm

 

Nearby locations in Washington that can help you if you are in need:

Adam Kartman, MD at Phoenix Recovery in Mt Vernon, Wash. Services provided: Anyone, including family and friends, who might be a first responder/good Samaritan to an opiate overdose who would like a prescription for intranasal naloxone and a free mucosal nasal atomizer is welcome to schedule a visit with Dr. Kartman at no charge. Native Americans and Alaskan Natives may be able to fill the prescriptions at no charge at tribal pharmacies. Others may get prescriptions filled at area pharmacies. Phone: 360-848-8437

Robert Clewis Center in Seattle, Wash. Services provided: Mon-Fri, 1:00-5:00 pm & Sat, 2:00-4:00 pm Walk-ins welcome. Harm reduction counseling/support, vein care, Naloxone/overdose prevention, case management. Facilitated access to methadone and other drug treatment, needle exchange, abscess treatment and care, HIV/hepatitis testing and counseling, Hepatitis A & B vaccinations, colds and upper respiratory infections andTB screening. Phone: 206-296-4649

The People’s Harm Reduction Alliance in Seattle, Wash. Services provided: We give out naloxone, crack kits, Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, safe disposal of used needles, access to new needles and clean supplies, referrals to other pertinent services such as detox and treatment options. Completely need-based program for syringe exchange and completely drug user run. Phone: 206-330-5777

 

 

What are opiates?

Heroin, morphine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, and other prescription pain medications.

How to recognize and overdose.

The person overdosing can’t be woken through loud noises or pain, may have blue or gray lips and fingernails, they will have slow or shallow breathing which may sound similar to gasping or snoring.
How to save someone from an overdose.

An overdose death may happen hours after taking drugs. If a bystander acts when they first notice a person’s breathing has slowed, or when they can’t awaken a user, there is time to call 911, start rescue breathing (if needed) and give naloxone.

1.    Rub to wake.

  • Rub you knuckles on the bony part of the chest (the Sternum) to try to get them to wake up or breathe.

2.    Call 911. – All you need to say is :

  • The address and where to find the person
  • A person is not breathing
  • When medics come tell them what drugs the person took if you know
  • Tell them if you gave naloxone

3.    If the person stops breathing give breaths mouth-to-mouth or use a disposable breathing mask.

  •  Put them on their back.
  • Pull the chin forward to keep the airway open; put one hand on the chin, tilt the head back, and pinch the nose closed.
  • Make a seal over their mouth with yours and breathe in two breaths. The chest, not the stomach, should rise.
  • Give one breath every 5 seconds.

4.    Give Naloxone

  • For injectable naloxone: Inject into the arm or upper outer top of thigh muscle, 1 cc at a time. Always start from a new vial.
  • For intranasal naloxone: Squirt half the vial into each nostril, pushing the applicator fast to make a fine mist.
  • Discard any opened vials of naloxone within 6 hours (as recommended by the World Health Organization).

5.    Stay with the person and keep them breathing

  • Continue giving mouth-to-mouth breathing if the person is not breathing on their own.
  • Give a second dose of naloxone after 2-5 minutes if they do not wake up and breathe more than about 10-12 breaths a minute.
  • Naloxone can spoil their high and they may want to use again. Remind them naloxone wears off soon and they could overdose again.

6.    Place the person on their side

  • People can breathe in their own vomit and die. If the person is breathing, put them on their side. Pull the chin forward so they can breathe more easily. Some people may vomit once they get naloxone; this position will help protect them from inhaling that vomit.

7.    Convince the person to follow the paramedics’ advice.

If the paramedics advise them to go to the Emergency Room, health care staff will help:

  • Relieve symptoms of withdrawal
  • Prevent them from overdosing again today
  • By having an observer who can give more naloxone when the first dose wears off
  • Assess and treat the person for other drug overdoses. Naloxone only helps for opioids.

8.    What if the police show up?

  • The Washington State 911 Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Law lets bystanders give naloxone if they suspect an overdose.
  • The law protects the victim and the helpers from prosecution for drug possession. The police can confiscate drugs and prosecute persons who have outstanding warrants from other crimes.