NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Near the northern side of Williams Park there are a few tables set up and several people hoping to fight the area’s opioid crisis.
“The open end goes right inside, three half turns,” explains Susan Clark-Levin with Open Access CT.
She is part of an outreach effort sponsored by The Alliance for living which is giving away Narcan kits and training people how to use them.
“Anybody can do it. Anybody can save a life in five seconds,” says Phyllis Cappuccio the executive director of the Covenant House.
Her entire staff at the shelter is being trained on how to use the opioid fighting drug while Jessaine Edwards just thinks it’s a good thing to have. She lost a friend to an overdose.
“Everybody has their own rock bottom so it could have been his rock bottom,” says Edwards. “Unfortunately we’ll never know that.”
In addition to two doses of Narcan each kit comes with a face shield which allows people to safely breathe into the overdose victim’s lungs. Trainers say it’s important to do so along with the Narcan but even if you don’t have Narcan it’s just as important to do so alone because it gets oxygen into the victim’s lungs.
“Important is that you see their chest rising,” explains Clark-Levin during one of her many demonstrations.
The training and kits are offered as part of International Overdose Awareness day.
“Well the purpose is to actually erase stigma around addiction,” says Carol Jones with the Alliance for Living.
“Don’t be ashamed,” says Lisa Johns whose son Christopher died of an overdose. “You can’t be ashamed.
Johns and Allan Selserman both lost their sons to addiction while in a sober house. Narcan wasn’t available.
“I’m sure it certainly would have given a better chance because nobody called 911 and they were afraid,” says Selserman.
While some who are saved continue to use, Krista Howard’s boyfriend made the most of his second chance.
“I’m really happy that he’s here and he’s really turned himself around and gotten himself into recovery like I said. It saved his life,” Howard says holding back tears.
The Department of Public Health provided the kits to the Alliance for Living which is making them available to all.
“We don’t ask any questions just come in,” says Jones.
Many pharmacies are also providing Narcan with no prescription required. It is free if you are on the Husky plan while many private insurance companies charge only a co-pay.