Narcan is like a small box of hope. It is a nasal spray that can quickly block the effects of a drug overdose, and it saves lives in the homeless community.
Cofounder of ‘Voices of Hope Lex,’ Alex Elswick said that in 2021, the number of overdoses reached an annual record 100,000.
“I remember like 10 years ago when overdose fatalities surpassed 40,000 and we were like, ‘Oh my god, that’s the capacity of Great American Ballpark where the Cincinnati Reds play,” Elswick said.
According to the 2020 Overdose Fatality Report by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, more than 1,964 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2020.
Elswick said, “The latest overdose data we have available is the 2020 report, and per that data, had a 50% increase.”
One medication on the market that has helped with saving lives from opioids from these enormous numbers is Narcan.
Director of Programs at the Hope Center, David Shadd, MS LPA, said, “Narcan is a blocker that prevents and stops the opioid overdose until EMS can arrive and essentially reverse the overdose. It isn’t a permanent remedy, but it will give you time to save a life.”
Katie Vogel, PR for the Hope Center, said they serve between 150-170 clients in the shelters. More than half of the Hope Center’s clients struggle with opioid addiction. At any moment, they could face a client overdosing. Buying time – preventing loss of life – is a part of their staff worker’s experience.
“Opioid overdoses continue to be one of the hardest-hitting problems that we’ve had just because of the lethality of it,” Shadd said.
Shadd also said that many times, the person overdosing doesn’t know how or why it’s happening to them.
“These days with a lot of the drugs being laced with Fentanyl you just don’t really know what you’re taking,” Shadd said.
This Narcan donation from ‘Voices of Hope Lex’ aims to help those who didn’t know their life could suddenly be taken, putting a box of Narcan on every floor of the Hope Center’s building, totaling 19-20 boxe.
“We frequently hear people come back and tell us that they reversed an overdose with the Naloxone we provided, and that really means in literal terms that we saved someone’s life,” Elswick said.
Elswick said he spoke recently with an official in the Fayette County School District about making Narcan readily available in schools where kids may potentially overdose.
“This overdose crisis is the deadliest time, and really the deadliest place in the history of man to be using opioids, so the fact that we have something like Narcan that can save a life, means we need as much of it as possible and everyone gets access to it,” Elswick said.