Former medic teaches recovering addicts to use life-saving Narcan

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Luis Garcia, former firefighter and medic, teaches recovering addicts to use life-saving Narcan in March 2018 – Photo by WINK News.

Southwest Florida residents are learning life-saving techniques to prevent others from dying due to drug overdoses.

“I had a doctor prescribe my Oxycontin in 2004 and it nearly killed me. I overdosed a few times and they administered Narcan to save my life,” said recovering addict Kristina Miller.

Miller has experienced the Opioid epidemic firsthand. While Narcan saved her life, her brother and friend weren’t as lucky.

“He had an ATV accident and had a lot of surgeries to try to save his leg, and they just kept medicating him more and more,” Miller said. “We lost him June 15 and it’s just like ugh how am I here? How did we get here? I’ve been to the same room in the hospital for two different deaths for the same thing.”

She says Narcan could have saved their lives too.

“Had my family had Narcan in the house my brother passed in, they would’ve been able to save him. The doctors told us that,” Miller said.

That’s why emergency responders are teaching friends and families about Narcan and how to use it before they even arrive.

“Time is of the essence,” says instructor Luis Garcia. “In SWFL, very few police departments currently carry Narcan, and police often arrive three to four minutes before fire rescue, and fire rescue may take six to seven minutes. That is too long. If a person has no pulse, is not breathing, they will probably not make it.”

Garcia is a retired South Florida firefighter and medic who’s made it his mission to curb opioid overdose deaths by teaching others.

“I’m here today to give out about 100 dosages and train about 100 people in a two hour class on Narcan,” Garcia said. “So they leave here fully prepared to save a life.”

41 states have laws which state you can purchase Narcan without a prescription. Florida is one of those states.

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