Every county in Northeast Ohio offers free Narcan: Should you carry it around?

Published: May. 21, 2018 at 7:46 PM EDT|Updated: May. 21, 2018 at 11:26 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Debbie Hunt knows all about heartbreak.

"She overdosed at her brother's house in front of all my grandkids. She was dead," she said.

Debbie's daughter Stephanie was not breathing, but Narcan brought her back, it gave her a second chance.

"If it wasn't for Narcan I wouldn't have my daughter, my grandkids ... wouldn't have their mother," she said.

Debbie's daughter is in recovery.

The experience changed Debbie as well.

She doesn't go anywhere without a double dose of Narcan in her purse, "If I can save somebody else's child, somebody else's loved one, to give them that chance to get into recovery and have a fresh life, then I will."

What you may not know is that you too can save a life by carrying Narcan through a program called Project DAWN, which stands for Deaths Avoided with Naloxone.

Every county in Northeast Ohio offers free Narcan through Project Dawn -- no questions asked, you just need to go through a short training program.

"I am going to take the first dose of Narcan, that's in my kit and I am going to go ahead and push right up the nostril," said Candy Morrow who works at MetroHealth Medical Center and in a joint venture with Cuyahoga County she is a Project Dawn program assistant.

Morrow put me through the training, "And then we go back into our kit and we give a second dose of Narcan if they're not responding."

Vince Caraffi is the supervisor of Project Dawn in Cuyahoga county, "You can't put someone in treatment if they are not breathing, it gives people an opportunity to have a chance."

Giving people a chance and saving lives is why Debbie Hunt made the courageous decision to speak out, "Because if you save one life, you save a whole family, my daughter has three kids, three boys, she's working again, she's holding her own, she couldn't have before."

We met Debbie at the Lake County General Health District, where Haley Russo is a health educator, and worked to expand Project Dawn into Geauga and Ashtabula counties.

It helps, Russo said, when people like Debbie are willing to share their story.

"Just to know we're out there making a difference, it's a huge difference, that's a whole life saved, so it's a great feeling," Russo said.

Debbie admitted she spends most days holding her breath and praying her daughter won't relapse. She also revels in watching her get stronger every day, taking care of her kids, working, breathing and living her life.

"I am thankful every day," she said, wiping away a tear.

Here are county-by-county informational links to Project Dawn:

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