'Everyone should carry this': Community learns how to save lives at Narcan demonstration

NOW: ’Everyone should carry this’: Community learns how to save lives at Narcan demonstration

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Community health advocates say there's an easy way people can be prepared to save a life: by obtaining Narcan and learning how to administer it.

Wednesday night dozens of people attended MPD's District 2 crime and safety meeting to learn how.

Many people have become desensitized to the opioid crisis as it continues to devastate communities. But hundreds of people are dying every year and hundreds of families are grieving.

Narcan can help limit that damage.

Amy Molinski is 13 years sober and spreading hope, but she's been to some dark places after addictions to heroin, cocaine and opioids.

She said addiction is not about will power. "Until you've experienced it, I'm not sure that you can understand. There's nothing you won't do to get high."

In 2022, 605 people died from opioid overdoses in Milwaukee County, almost three times the number of deaths by homicide and six times the number of deaths from motor vehicle accidents.

Narcan is a tool that works.

Amanda De Leon of Community Medical Services held up a box of Narcan and told the crowd, "Yes this is a prize to go home with. Everyone gets free Narcan because everyone should carry this."

De Leon then led an explanation and demonstration of the nasal spray.

She said, "We have to get Narcan in the hands of everyone so that way, if they see someone that's unresponsive, they can help save that person's life and give them another chance at recovery."

Each box contains two doses, and they're easy to administer: Call 911 first, then lay the person flat or tilt their chin up. Empty the plunger once into one nostril, then wait three minutes and empty the second dose in the other nostril. 911 will guide you along the way.

De Leon said, "We recommend that everyone carries it, because you just don't know what's going to happen."

Milwaukee County already has a Narcan vending machine installed at the Marcia Coggs Human Services Center, inside the main entrance and to the right.

It has Narcan, fentanyl test strips, even gun trigger locks, all for free.

Narcan is the emergency fix, but turning the tide on the opioid crisis will require more.

De Leon said, "If we can reduce the stigma attached to those with substance abuse disorder. If we can reduce the stigma attached to Narcan."

Molinski said, "If I'm afraid of being judged, am I going to tell people I need help? Probably not."

Milwaukee County will soon install more vending machines with free Narcan. The county is currently weighing about 15 applications.

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