PHILADELPHIA, PA (WTXF) - As the country continues to grapple with the opioid epidemic, many view overdose reversal medication as an essential tool to fight back.
Some counselors, like Rick Tull of Philadelphia’s Office of Behavioral Health, believe making these drugs more accessible deserves consideration.
“With all the people who passed, including the three people who passed in Philadelphia last night, I think it’s appropriate to have a moment of silence,” he says.
New efforts from the city to combat opioid addiction include citywide training sessions where participants learn how to administer Narcan and, if necessary, obtain the prescription.
Wednesday was one in a series of events hosted by the city to get the message out that residents must be prepared to save a life when the moment calls for it. Participants heard Tull present the staggering statistics.
“Every day, 100 people will die from opioid overdoses nationwide, [with] at least three to four in Philadelphia alone,” he said.
But it honestly wasn’t the stats that made the biggest impact, it was the attendees..
Elvis Rosado works in addiction prevention and demonstrated Narcan because he knows firsthand its impact.
“The agency staff has reversed over 200 people. By myself, as of last week, I’m at 37 people,” he told FOX 29’s Bill Anderson.
Onzie Travis is a counselor who shocked attendees with his sincerity when he explained only one person he worked with died from drug use.
“Some people I’ve worked with have overdosed,” he said. “Fortunately, only one of them passed away. The others were revived.”
Health worker Allison Herens administered Narcan following a training session less than 24 hours after purchasing it.
“I purchased Narcan the day before, and when I got to Somerset Station a man on the platform overdosed and I reversed him,” she said.
Whether making Narcan more accessible makes users more likely to continue abusing opioids, the training sessions made a simple point clear. While we debate the merits of these overdose reversal drugs, we should save lives while we do it.