Officials raise awareness about overdoses

Free kits with Narcan were given away on Wednesday in New Haven. (WFSB)

It's a growing epidemic that can impact just about anyone.

Heroin addictions are claiming the lives of people in all kinds of communities, and Wednesday was identified as International Overdose Awareness Day.

On Wednesday in New Haven, the health department shined a light on the problem, giving free kits with a prescription that’s saving lives.

Heroin use is becoming more common, but there is a drug that can save lives, but it isn’t always easy to get.

On Wednesday at New Haven’s public library, a number of people came together with a goal to help those addicted to heroin and help save lives.

The city's health department invited health service groups to explain what they are doing to get people into treatment for opioid addictions.

"It’s not just vets -- it's everyone. Every walk of life. People have an impression these are street people (but it’s) not that way today,” said Anna Garrity, of Veterans Administration.

Garrity works with veterans who have drug issues.

William Bailey helps provide housing, and his biggest concern is that an addict will need help administering naloxone or Narcan.

"When you get that high, you can't self-administer. You are out of can be with someone else, but if they are an addict, you never know,” Bailey said.

Narcan is a known medication that can reverse an overdose, and hundreds of kits were given out on Wednesday, and the cost was picked up by the state.

"I am fortunate. I don't know why I am still alive,” said Benjamin Vogt, who is a former addict. When he overdosed, Narcan saved his life.

He was able to get clean with the help of George Bucheli, a former addict who now helps those like Benjamin live better lives. Bucheli said he's worried that Narcan is becoming too expensive.

"The price has gone up - it's almost tripled,” Bucheli said.

Vogt said he just wants the live-saving drug to be available to everyone.

"It should be something in a first-aid kit. Too many people, it’s not just people wearing bad clothes, it’s doctors, lawyers,” Vogt said.

At one time, a dose of Narcan cost under $60, but now it is well over $100.

The other issue for some is the availability. You need a prescription.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering allowing family members to get Narcan from a pharmacist without a prescription.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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