Narcan, the difference between life and death

Local News

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — On Wednesday, Bay County Emergency Services were called to two overdose calls.

One of the individuals sadly passed away but the other patient’s life was saved through the use of narcan.

Narcan is a opioid antagonist and reverses the effects, saving many lives.

Lieutenant Lawrence Smith with Bay County EMS says they run about 30 overdose calls a month. That number is down from last year but Smith says the effect of the drugs never lessens.

“It may be opioids, it may be fentanyl, it may be heroin, it may be a mixture of all of them. It’s just sad. We go to so many and it’s usually younger people,” said Smith.

Smith says all their crews, all fire departments and almost all police departments have narcan on hand when on the clock.

“Each dose is about 2 milligrams so maybe 60 milligrams a month,” Smith said.

Without the resource, Smith says we would have 30-35 people die each month from overdose.

One woman who beat her addiction, Brittany Cureton, who says she overdosed twice in her lifetime.

“The first time it happened, I had just got done doing some of what I had. I felt like it wasn’t enough, I didn’t feel like I was high enough as crazy as that sounds looking back and so I did a little bit more and I think it was too short of a time span and I did more than I should have that second go around and the next thing I know, I woke up to a police officer and firefighters beating on the passenger side of the window of my car,” Cureton said.

She says this time, she’s unsure if narcan was administered but the second time around, it saved her life.

“I hadn’t done it in so long I think, my body just couldn’t handle it. My friend had to call 911 and I was told that my respirations were half of what they should be and that they were going down. I really should’ve died that time for sure and I would have had I not gotten that dose of narcan.”

After this, Cureton says she knew her life had to be changed and went to rehab in 2015.

“Narcan really did save my life but I think God was on to something else, trying to get me to a place for me to see I needed true help.”

She was living in Panama City at the time and starting attending meetings at First Baptist Church’s Most Excellent Way program.

“I’d always had a Christian background, I knew that I was saved but I knew I wasn’t living that type of life nor did I ever think I was able to live that kind of life or get clean, and live clean and stay clean but I knew God was directly speaking to me and calling me out of that lifestyle,” she said.

Now, Cureton ministers to other addicts in hopes they too will turn their lives around.

“I tried everything else. Suboxone, methadone, just trying to quit cold turkey but I couldn’t cope with life and I think long term sobriety, you have to have something to live for.”

While the medicine is what physically saved her, Cureton says her life was making the commitment to get and stay clean in body, mind, and soul.

“Narcan is very helpful because it literally does save lives. I think of, if I didn’t have that what would my life have looked like, especially that second time but there is hope if you are struggling with addiction, it’s not a life sentence, it’s not something that cannot be overcome.”

Most Excellent Way started back physically meeting together on Wednesday. You can find more information about the program here.

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