New push to make heroin antidote available to all

New push to make heroin antidote available to all
23 people die every week from a heroin overdose in OH (Source: WOIO)
23 people die every week from a heroin overdose in OH (Source: WOIO)

The heroin epidemic here in northeast Ohio has reached new levels.

Now there's a push to have an antidote available to save people's lives as more and more people die from overdoses every year.

Every week in Ohio, 23 people die from a heroin overdose.

Tuesday night, Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Institute and "Project DAWN" held a seminar on the heroin epidemic in Summit County at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson.

About 25 people gathered to learn the signs of heroin use and how to administer Narcan kits during a heroin overdose.

One family who attended the seminar knows what it's like to battle heroin.

Narcan wasn't as easy to get when Ellen and Scott Mabee of Hudson needed it for their daughter a few years ago.

But they're glad to see other families have this extra tool to fight heroin.

26-year-old Samantha Mabee struggled with a heroin addiction for years.

"We were really at a loss, how to respond to that, how to help her," Ellen Mabee said.

Samantha's parents put her through several rehab programs, but that wasn't enough to get her clean.

"You can't make them get help, they need to want to get help on their own," Ellen Mabee said.

"We initially floundered terribly because there's not a textbook you can look and see how you deal with this," said Scott Mabee.

Families like the Mabees now have another tool to fight heroin overdoses. Narcan, an emergency life-saving medication, can give their loved ones a second chance.

The medication is administered through each nostril. It can buy more time until emergency crews arrive.

"Heroin is a serial killer, it's invaded our neighborhoods," said Ann DiFrangia, director of addiction medicine at Akron General Edwin Shaw hospital. "It's in everyone's neighborhood. If you don't think it's in your neighborhood, you're not looking hard enough."

Ellen and Scott Mabee know that firsthand.

Luckily, their daughter has gotten clean through the help of support groups and reconnecting with her faith. Now the Mabee family is helping others with a support group of their own for families.

They think Narcan is an essential tool for other families fighting against heroin.

"I think it's a tremendous thing, potentially life-saving and life-changing," Scott Mabee said.

In Summit County, residents can pick up a Narcan kit at Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation hospital. They get a tutorial on how to use it and it's free.

"Families Facing Addiction" meets every first and third Saturday of the month from 9:30-11 a.m. at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson.

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