Niles offers free narcan training for the community
A county hit hard by overdose deaths is working to change that.
Thursday, some of those who are affected by the opioid crisis got a lesson in how to save lives.
They now know how to use naloxone, or narcan, which can save someone from an overdose.
The Southwest Michigan Families Against Narcotics and the Voice Change Hope Alliance have teamed up to offer free naloxone training to the community.
WSBT was there as they worked to save more lives
One substance abuse prevention consultant says within Michigan, Berrien County, ranked 5th overall in fatal drug overdoses.
That was two years ago and now the community is tied in 8th place.
"We have a lot of work to do and it also tells me we have too many people dying. We have to do whatever we can do to try and help them survive, and get them into recovery,” said substance abuse prevention consultant, Kerri Teachout.
Community members who attended the training did not want to be on camera because some are admitted addicts and others have had family members impacted by opioids.
They're learning how to use the narcan nasal spray.
Unlike the version used by paramedics and other law enforcement officials this antidote doesn't use a needle.
It's easy to use and puts more people in the position to help.
"You're assessing a situation, you're looking for crisis, you're immediately calling police, and you're administering a medication or substance that's going to quickly access the system and be able to counter act the effects of what's happening in the overdose,” said therapist, Melissa Longley.
Longley says drugs can be unpredictable and with fentanyl laced heroin on the street it makes educating more people vital to saving lives.
Those hosting this training say it has become their passion to help. They say the opioid crisis affects everyone
“I had two friends a couple of years ago, brother and sister, die of heroin overdose and I suppose it's my legacy to them, in memory of them to do more and they would be very happy to know I'm doing that,” said Longley.
Those who attended Thursday’s training received a free naloxone kit to take home with them. Naloxone has a one year shelf life. Organizers say when it expires people can bring it in for a new one.