Allison Herens, with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said she started carrying Narcan when she was hired to be the city’s first harm-reduction coordinator. She attended a training on how to use it, then picked it up from a pharmacy. The next day, while riding SEPTA, she said she saw a man overdosing and administered the Narcan, saving his life.
“What most people don’t know about that story is I only actually had the medication because I went to a second pharmacy the day I went to get it,” said Herens. “The first pharmacy not only gave me pushback about using my insurance, but didn’t have it in stock.”
By Nina Feldman
In Philadelphia and in Delaware County and across the state public health workers are busy getting Naloxone into people’s hands for free.
The medication can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if given in time.
Meg Carter of the Philadelphia Health Department said, “The more people that carry Naloxone and understand what it does and why it is important and can help.”
By John Rawlins
Meg Carter has this to say about why she believes it changes and saves lives.
“If a person’s overdosing, you don’t know what part of their journey they’re in. So they may not be ready for treatment yet but maybe tomorrow they will be. So if you are saving a person’s life and tomorrow they are ready to enter treatment, any life saved is a life saved,” Carter says.
At the Walgreens in the shadow of the SEPTA El stop at Kensington and Allegheny Avenues, the city Health Department’s harm reduction coordinator, Allison Herens, recalled the day after she decided to start carrying Naloxone, she was put to the test.
While taking SEPTA, she saw a man across the platform was overdosing.
“Using training I had literally just gotten, and the Naloxone in my bag, I was able to save his life,” she explained.
By Steve Tawa