Mother Credits Narcan With Saving Her Daughter’s Life - KMSP-TV

Mother Credits Narcan With Saving Her Daughter’s Life

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PHILADELPHIA -

In just the past 48-hours in our area two more people's lives were saved with Narcan.

Use of the drug that rescues people experiencing an overdose is spreading.

Fox 29's Shawnette Wilson shows us it can really provide a second chance.

"It was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever experienced in my life, and I never want to experience that again in my life," said a mother whose daughter overdosed on heroin.

The Bucks County mother recalls the late night in April.

"That night she used, she injected it, she never, that was yes, that was the first time," she said.

Her 20-year-old daughter overdosed on heroin.

We're concealing her identity to protect her daughter who also has a young child.

"I was in a panic because she wasn't in the house. I didn't know where she was then I looked on the driveway and there she was,” she said.

She had just recently learned her daughter had been using for a few months and was seeking help.

"She figured she would do it one time, she was not using as classified by needle, she was snorting and she thought no big deal, I’ll do it one time and I won't get addicted," she said.

But that first time injecting heroin nearly cost the young girl her life.

Susan Shoemaker works with Steps to Recovery, which is a treatment and substance abuse facility.

"I felt that she was definitely in a life or death situation, and she didn't want to die,” said Shoemaker.

She had been somewhat of a counselor for the girl who reached out to her the night she overdosed.

"I received a text message from this young woman who stated that she did inject heroin for the first time and felt she was going to overdose,” she said.

"Anxiety, my heart was racing, my heart dropped, I immediately picked up the phone to call her,” said Shoemaker. "She had blurred lines, she couldn’t' see straight, her voice was very shaky."

Susan discovered the girl was walking home and talked her through getting there, but she suddenly stopped responding.

So she called 9-1-1, then the girl's mother.

"There were screams that I heard and witnessed from her mother that I never want to hear, that I hear, no mother should ever have to endure,” she said.

Paramedics arrived shortly after police and saved the girl's life with Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan.

In Pennsylvania only paramedics can carry and administer the drug, which reverses the overdose and sends the user into accelerated withdrawal.

"If it was an EMT we do not know if she would be here today. That's the only reason she's still alive and in treatment,” said Shoemaker.

Narcan has been around for decades, in an injection form, but has recently drawn criticism because of the newest form.

It can now be administered as a mist, through the nose.

And there's a push in the state to have all first responders armed with it.

"It's in a preloaded syringe so very quickly they would pop off tops, put syringe together and have access to the drug," said Dr.Buton.

Doctor Barry Burton is the assistant medical director for Bucks County Rescue.

"Our goal is to save those that can be saved and hopefully give them the opportunity to make the critical decision to make better choices,” said Dr. Burton.

He feels Narcan helps provide that.

"We're having a significant public health problem right now with the supply of heroin and it's analog fentynl so users are not very familiar with the dosage and may get a batch," he said.

A proponent of the drug yes, but he understands why it's so controversial.

"That's always a concern we have about someone deciding they can take more of the drug because they have an immediate rescue available to them,” said Dr. Burton,"On the other hand, many of the folks that get in trouble are not so sophisticated."

Doctor Burton also cautions Narcan isn't the first option.

"With narcotics the primary issue is to keep you breathing and it's still important we teach in medicine that this is not the first step but rather the third. We start out by breathing for you then we can gain access to give the drug,” he said.

And he says Narcan is not the solution but a bridge to treatment for the drug user.

"They're still going to want the fix if you haven't gotten to the route cause. Again the point of this is to give those individuals who have made bad choices to change their opinion to recognize that they have a problem,” said Dr. Burton.

While some may still oppose Narcan, this mother says it gave her daughter a second chance.

"It saved her life because if they didn't administer the Narcan she wouldn't be here,” said the girl’s mother.

Those who can administer Narcan varies from state to state; however, proponents nationwide are fighting to get it into the hands of recovery counselors and families of those people dealing with drug abuse.

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