Tiffinee Scott leads a Narcan training at the Penn North Library. Credit: Emily Sullivan/WYPR.

In a basement conference room at the Penn North Library, away from shelves of books and rows of computers, Tiffinee Scott teaches a group of people how to use Narcan. The medication is used to reverse opioid overdoses, which killed nearly a thousand Baltimoreans in 2020.

“When a person is unresponsive and not breathing, the first thing you want to do is get their attention similar to CPR,” she begins. After her instruction is complete, the group receives a few doses to have on hand if they witness an overdose.

The Narcan training is part of a pilot program that connects people to recovery services at the Penn North Library called Peer Navigators. Since December, peer navigators – that is, people with lived experience of substance use and recovery or mental health needs – are at the library every Tuesday. They sit behind a table advertising the program and walk around the building, greeting familiar faces and building trust. Since its launch, the program has connected about 120 people in an area considered an epicenter in Baltimore’s opioid crisis to recovery services.

“That’s the beauty of meeting people where they are,” Scott said.

The building already hosts social workers, job services and lawyers. Library spokeswoman Meghan McCorkell says, customers need access to recovery services too.

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.