It’s sometimes used when people are over-sedated in the hospital. That’s what its original use was. From what people tell me, if they have it, they get on scene, they inject or instill it — because there’s a way to put it into somebody’s nose — and a person who’s not breathing half a minute later sits up and starts punching, because they don’t even know they passed out or what’s going on around them. You go from not breathing to sitting up and screaming, in a minute.
[People] can get Narcan [at] any Walgreens. Walgreens is functioning under a collaborative agreement where a physician has essentially signed a prescription for all the people that go into Walgreens. And you can buy it [for] $20 to $25 for the injectable form. I think the nasal is more expensive.
I’M NOT SURE FOLKS KNOW ABOUT RI’S RECENTLY PASSED “GOOD SAMARITAN” LAW EITHER. CAN YOU TALK A BIT ABOUT THAT? I’m not the best lawyer, so we probably need a lawyer to double-check me. [But] if you are in a room with somebody who overdoses, it provides protection for you if you call for help. It hasn’t been that well tested. But I think the police now understand it. I’m not sure, until all this started, they quite got it.
Because, when all else fails, if you’re with somebody who’s addicted, even if there are drugs in the house, we want you to call for help because we want them to live. Because we can’t get a dead person into treatment. It just doesn’t work.
ARE WE EVER GOING TO BEAT THIS PROBLEM OF FATAL OVERDOSES? I think we can beat it back. I think if people who are the families and communities of people who are addicted kind of surround them with what [executive director of Providence’s Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence] Teny Gross calls “the beloved community” and doesn’t quit until they get into treatment, and we get people in situations where they are supported, I think we can reduce the numbers fairly significantly.
A lot of it’s about us, not about the people who are addicted: what we’re willing to commit to [toward] keeping people alive, and taking care of people. Almost everybody who’s addicted has somebody who loves them and isn’t addicted and knows [that person is] addicted. And when you’re that somebody, it’s not a pleasant process. So we can all help that somebody be strong, and not get hustled, on the one hand, and not give up, on the other hand. Because it’s a pretty lonely place. This is about a community of people taking care of each other. Either we can stand up and do that or people are going to keep dying. This is about all of us together. It’s not just about the people who are using.