‘Knows All My Business’: Health Program Seeks To Train Barbers To Save Lives: REPORT

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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A health professional held a forum for student barbers Tuesday in Illinois to train them to use an opioid overdose treatment, CBS News reported.

Keisha House, the RUSH Substance Use Disorder Center’s assistant director, called for barbers to keep Narcam, the opioid treatment, in their stores, according to the outlet. She also reportedly wanted them to be knowledgeable on how to use the life saving drug. RUSH is an academic health system with over 30 clinical centers in and around Chicago.

The health professional said several people struggled with her project’s concept, failing to recognize the intimate dynamic at a barber shop, CBS News reported. “I told them, I said, ‘Well, my beautician know all my business. We talk about everything,'” House told the student barbers, according to the outlet. “I’m here to arm you all with knowledge to help somebody, and to save somebody’s life.”

A demonstration of how Narcan is used accompanied her presentation, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“Now that we know this information, we’re able to save a life or two,” Laniah Davis, a 30-year-old attendee at the public health forum, told the Chicago Tribune. Davis told the outlet she had confidence they could teach others on how to administer the drug. (RELATED: Partner At Firm Under Investigation For Role In Opioid Crisis Sat On Veteran Health Panel With Dem Governors)

House’s forum — in addition to training barbers to use the treatment — also taught the barbers what to say to a 9-1-1 operator if someone is overdosing, CBS News reported. House is reportedly looking to expand her program to include other high trust environments, including churches and schools.

Narcan is a nasal spray medication that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in March 2023 for over-the-counter use. Opioids have killed almost 645,000 Americans between 1999 and 2021, the CDC stated.