Pittsburgh Paramedics Now Leaving Narcan for Overdose Patients
A recovering addict, and now a counselor, discusses how this can encourage abusers to get the help they need.
It's been over 30 days since Governor Tom Wolf's disaster emergency declaration on heroin and opioid abuse, opening the doors more to help abusers.
Like in the City of Pittsburgh, where paramedics and EMTs have begun leaving Narcan to patients who refuse to be taken to the hospital and are at high risk of overdosing again in the future.
Stephanie Dotts has been in recovery for six years, she believes this is needed in more cities. She explains it make take some people time before they realize they should go into treatment.
"It's different for every individual, so nobody on the outside can say that this has to be the time for this individual," said Dotts.
It was her time to get help after she went to jail for selling. She says it took three programs until she went into Gaudenzia's Crossroads program. Now, she is a counselor there to addicts.
While she has never overdosed, she has friends that have as many as 10 times, and have now been clean for years. She said if they are not ready to quit, the chances of them using again after an overdose are high.
"It depends on the things they've been through, where they're at in their process. And honestly, sometimes how much they've lost," she said.
Stephanie said the one issue she sees is if Narcan is readily available, some people may use because they know it is there. But despite this, if it saves a life, it's worth it.
"You can't put a price on a life. The Narcan is there for a loved one, to help them because sometimes you can't get through to people," explained Dotts.
Her biggest advice to addicts is to have hope, she never would have imagined her life would be as great as it is now.\
So far Pittsburgh's Emergency Medical Services Bureau is the first in Pennsylvania to have the Narloxone leave-behind program, but more area expected to follow suit.