Free lifesaving drug distributed to help educate communities gripped by opioid abuse crisis

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO - It’s a crisis that has taken so many lives but some local law enforcement are tackling opioid overdoses head on.

On Wednesday night, the Maryland Heights Police Department along with representatives of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse National Council gave away the lifesaving drug Narcan.

“Substance abuse has had a significant impact on families,” said Police Chief, Bill Carson. “We’ve had a number of heroin overdose fatalities in our community.”

A handful of people touched by the crisis came out to the first-ever town hall meeting to learn about prevention, recognize overdosing symptoms, how to administer Narcan and even take one for free.

“Everyone in America should have Naloxone,” said Nicole Browning, clinical director at the NCADA. “You just never know if it’s your neighbor your cousin whoever could have some sort of substance abuse disorder or can even face an overdose.”

Browning said the organization has given away 8,866 doses of Narcan since October of 2016.

New numbers released by the Missouri Department of Health show that from 2015 to 2016 there was a 35 percent increase in opioid or heroin-related deaths in the state, but the 2016 to 2017 numbers increased by only 4.7 percent.

“Hopefully it’s not just talking about it, it`s more action,” said Browning, “this gives someone an actual tool and I hope tonight people learned that substance use disorder is a brain disease it’s not just about bad choices or bad people.”