BOSTON — Narcan has emerged as perhaps the most powerful weapon in the opioid epidemic.
But many people don't have it, or know how to use it.
Doctors at Boston Medical Center said so many people turned out for its last walk-in Narcan training session, the hospital temporarily ran out of the life-saving drug at its pharmacy.
Hospital staff are expecting a similar turnout on Wednesday, as more and more people arm themselves with a life-saving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose in just minutes.
"This is something that all of us can learn and should learn," said Dr. Jeff Schneider of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center.
Based on the attendance of 100 people at its last Narcan training session, it seems the willingness to learn is there and growing.
"We’ve taught young people and we’ve taught people in their 80’s to do it," Schneider said.
Schneider said people are showing up and learning how to use Narcan for different reasons. Some are haunted by the epidemic on the front lines of their everyday lives.
"A woman came up in her 80s in a wheelchair on oxygen and she looked at us and said my son has overdosed three times can you teach me how to use this," Schneider said.
For others, there’s also a desire to help strangers struggling with addiction, should they witness an overdose.
Kathryn Green is trained on this life saving nasal spray and keeps it in close reach at all times.
"Just because they’re in a certain situation with substance abuse doesn’t mean they aren’t deserving of another day," Green said.
Minutes after Boston 25 News began filming steps from Boston Medical Center’s emergency room, a news crew witnessed someone on the sidewalk in need of help, which came quickly, stories of close calls all too common.
"I’ve had 28 overdoses, six in one month," said Anthony, who is battling addiction.
Anthony says he’s alive today, not just because of Narcan but also because of how many people now have it, and are willing to use it.
"We deserve a chance too just because we’re an addict doesn’t mean we’re a waste of life," said Anthony, who is battling addiction.
Fellow addict Elvin, whose face we're concealing can also speak to the recurring fine line between life and death and believes death would’ve already been his reality, had it not been for the life-saving drug.
"It’s like waking up from a nightmare basically, not a dream, cause dying is like a nightmare," said Elvin. "I basically owe him my life. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you."
A walk in class is free to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday.
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