FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Every day, 128 Americans die from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Monday is International Overdose Awareness Day – a day meant to reduce the stigma around overdoses and remember the lives lost to overdoses.
Sgt. Jeremy Glass with the Fayetteville Police Department talked about what it’s like responding to an overdose call.
“At first you feel kind of helpless,” Glass said. “There’s a person usually lying there unresponsive…they may already be turning colors.”
Glass says many times police officers are the first people to arrive on scene, which is why every officer carries Narcan nasal spray.
Narcan reverses the effects of opioids.
“Narcan has really helped us turn the tide on overdose deaths, and sometimes that second chance is all somebody might need,” Glass said.
“Sometimes it’s an accidental overdose, sometimes it’s on purpose,” said Dr. Mike Martin with Lighthouse Counseling Center. “A lot of people don’t see it coming, and if they do sometimes they don’t know what to do about it.”
Dr. Martin says his practice helps a couple of hundred people every year struggling with addictions.
“It’s more prevalent than you think,” Dr. Martin said. “If you look on a national level the opioid crisis in the last few years has shot through the roof.”
Glass says tools like Narcan take effect right away and can keep someone alive in order to get them to treatment.
“That person can snap out of it and somebody we thought was deceased is now back alive and talking,” Glass said. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”
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