A group banded together to fight drug addiction handed out free doses of an anti-overdose medication to anyone willing to sit through their training on how to use the life-saving drug.
Naloxone, better known as Narcan, is a nasal spray solution that can save the life of drug users experiencing overdose symptoms.
Officers in SDPD’s Eastern Division started carrying Narcan in July and confirmed they’ve used it four times. Chula Vista Police Department officers started carrying the drug about a month ago, and other first responders in the county have it available, too.
According to the group A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing), 72,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017. Distributing Narcan, they say, puts life-saving power in the hands of everyday people.
Not only did they give doses out for free, they showed people how to administer it.
“It should be as easy as calling 9-1-1,” Project Manager April Ella said. “Rescue breathing and administering one or two doses of naloxone, and making sure they seek medical attention after.“
Recovering addict Peter Wagner took advantage of the 10-minute training as well as the medication handout. He said seeing people who care enough to learn how to use Narcan gives him hope and inspiration to stay clean.
“I started smoking weed very young like eight or nine,” Wagner said. “I went to treatment for the very first time at the age of 13 for cocaine and oxy.”
He and other advocates and recovering addicts at the seminar know that knowledge is key when it comes to preventing accidental overdoses. He also says love can help saves lives.
“It's important to have compassion for people that are addicted to drugs,” he said. “Reach out to them and let them know that you love them.”
Because this is a life-saving measure, both the person administering the drug and the person receiving it are protected from legal repercussions.
Doses of Narcan can range anywhere from $150 to $700.