Emergency overdose drugs save lives amid national epidemic

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 11:01:07-04

Both legal and illegal opiate use and abuse is on the rise in America and here in the Treasure Valley.

It's something a 24-year-old, Boise resident knows all too well.

"I had succumbed to another relapse, and I just ended up taking way too much," says Josiah.

The problem that's growing so quickly has some of the first to arrive on the scene of an emergency trained to administer Naloxone, one of the brands of emergency overdose medications. Nampa Police officers are now trained on how to use it. They added it to their tool belt in Dec. of 2016 and have used it twice since then. The quicker it can be administered, the better the chance of survival since it immediately blocks the opiates.

"There are some really heavy-duty, potent medications out there such as the fentanyls that are so much more stronger than a heroin dose," says Sgt. Tim Riha, Nampa Police Department. "And, very easily one dose could kill somebody."

Those struggling with such an addiction are more susceptible of overdosing after the drug draws them back in.

"I just woke up with paramedics around me," Josiah recalls, adding that it was a neighbor who called for help.

Luckily for Josiah, he's since moved past the addiction and found the PEER Wellness Center where free recovery support services are offered.

"There's no shame in developing a dependence or addiction to opiates. It happens to a lot of us, you're not alone," says Monica Forbes, the administrator of the center. "There is support, there is help and you just need to reach out and ask. We are here for you."

Forbes says she's seeing an increase in opioid addiction at the Boise center. She knows of four people in the last two months whose lives were saved thanks to the Narcan nasal spray. She carries it with her in her First-Aid kit.

Plus, the PEER Wellness Center is offering a new program where a Detox and Recovery Team meets individuals and their families in the comfort of their own home.

Josiah recommends people do not hesitate to reach out.

"This place has been a big help to me," he concludes.