Palm Coast, FL (May 24, 2022) Taking every last box on hand, Pam Birtolo accomplished what she set out to do when attending the Boss Ladies’ May meeting on Tuesday evening.
Filling up the porch at The Brass Tap in Palm Coast, professional women from all walks of life listened as speakers Gigi Scott, Sheri Kline and Nina Guiglotto delivered a 3-2-1 professional punch. Birtolo, representing the evening’s featured charity Flagler Open Arms Recovery (Flagler OARS) talked about the dangers of opioid overdose, while urging each mother, sister and daughter in attendance to take a box of NARCAN – which can cost more than $200 at the local pharmacy, with them.
Birtolo is glad to see the stigma of addiction beginning to lessen, while in the same breath addressing a segment of the population often overlooked when talking about drug overdoses and the importance of having NARCAN on hand.
“It’s your kid. It’s your mother. Imagine your 80 or 90-year-old mom and she’s taken some kind of pain killer and she forgets,” explained Birtolo. “So what happens then, is every doctor, by law must write her a prescription for NARCAN, but at that age, on a fixed income, they’re not going to fill it.”
Birtolo hopes to make Flagler the most recovery-friendly in the state, and has partnered with AdventHealth in Palm Coast to distribute the overdose antidote free of charge to all who want it, thanks to grant funding and organizations willing to lend a hand.
“For us to have the support of organizations like Boss Ladies, means we’re one step closer to having a recovery-friendly community,” she said.
“Generally, organizations like this don’t have to think too much about substance use disorder, addiction and all the problems that surround that. Flagler County, per capita, is number 8 in overdoses in the state of Florida. When groups like Boss Ladies get interested in our work, we feel very blessed.”
Opioid overdose is a somber topic and capped an evening of frank discussions for the Boss Ladies.
Tackling issues of loneliness and social isolation in seniors, Gigi Scott, founder of Gigi’s Senior Concierge Services, LLC addressed the need for companionship and an active lifestyle among seniors living in northeast Florida.
“This is critical. There are so many seniors out there that just need that little bit of extra tender loving care and need somebody to be there and advocate for them,” she said.
Registered nurse Sheri Kline’s ‘Age Well Die Well’ talk guided the conversation to the importance of having a living will and directives in place with services like The Conversation Project and Five Wishes,
“Be open to being educated in the process and it will decrease the fear and frustration,” advised Kline, who shared her own mother’s story during her presentation, bringing some to tears.
No stranger to difficult conversations, Nina Guiglotto wrapped up the trio’s presentation with her signature gentle approach to end of life discussions on behalf of Lohman Funeral Home.
“I hope they understand the importance of pre-planning and that it saves loved ones financially and emotionally,” said Guiglotto.
The evening closed with raffles donated by the Boss Ladies, raising more than $600 for Flagler OARS.
For those in need or would like to have NARCAN on hand, please call Pam Birtolo at 386-569-4310 or stop by the Flagler OARS office at 4750 E. Moody Blvd., Bunnell, located in the Coastal Center Business Complex, just west of Belle Terre Parkway on State Road 100.
A box is located outside the office with a supply of NARCAN for the public, free of charge.