Connecticut lawmakers are authoring legislation that allows pharmacists to write prescriptions for the lifesaving drug Narcan.
More than 700 people in Connecticut died in 2015 from overdosing on heroin, which is an increase of 27 percent in just one year.
Lisa Johns lost her son Christopher to heroin almost two years ago. She carries a photo of him everywhere she goes as she tries to save others’ lives.
"He told me himself 'mom if I can't beat this beast, I am going to die before you'," Johns said.
Johns helps those struggling with addiction to get into recovery. She’s also ready to save lives and always carries Narcan, which is the name brand for Naloxone, in her purse.
Naloxone can be injected or inhaled and it reverses the effects of an overdose.
Lisa Bragaw is a pharmacist at Simply Pharmacy in Waterford, and under a new Connecticut law, Bragaw is able to prescribe and dispense the life saving drug.
"With opioid narcotic meds to treat pain, you become tolerant to it,” Bragaw said. “You need more and more."
Up until recently, only doctors could prescribe Naloxone.
Some families said they find it easier to speak with a pharmacist about drug addiction over a doctor.
"A lot of people are waiting for emergency personnel to come to the scene,” Bragaw said. “That's wasted time when you could have Naloxone in your possession."
Bragaw said it starts with pain medicine. When those run out, many turn to heroin because it is easy to get and a lot cheaper.
Bragaw said she counsels a number of families and explains how to use Naloxone, which may have to be used a few times if someone is overdosing on synthetic heroin or fentanyl.
If Johns had this live saving drug, she said she may have been able to save her son.
"You got to keep fighting because when they are suffering like that, they lose themselves and can't fight for themselves," Johns said.
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