Lifesaving drug for opioid overdose

Mackenzie Davis
Created: January 26, 2021 06:46 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - Fixing an addiction is not a quick fix. But, for Stepheny Ross, she made it to the other side.

"Almost a year and a half ago I was injecting heroin in a hotel room with a group of addicts and I overdosed. It was because they had Narcan available and they administered it to me that I sit here today, that I got another chance at life to pursue help," Stepheny Ross, opioid overdose survivor, said.

Narcan, a brand name for Naxolone, is the reason she is here telling her story.

"Narcan saved my life, so I could save my life, essentially," Ross said.

Her recovery has allowed for something new in her life, after overdosing on her 36th birthday. 

"For me, that is having a relationship with God and having a new purpose in life.  I have a new purpose in life. I had lost all purpose and today I have purpose," Ross said.

Ross has new life goals after completing her treatment program during the pandemic. She found a Christian-based recovery program that feels like a community.

"I am now actually in ministry school, so I get to minister to other addicts and try to bring other people into recovery as well and make this my new goal in life," Ross said.

Naloxone is being pushed as an accessory in homes, just like you'd have a fire extinguisher in a building.

"Naloxone works by competing for the same receptors that the opioid medications work on... once that Naloxone is done working, or once it's on the receptors, there are still more receptors left for all that opioid to be on. So, you have to wait until all of that opioid clears their system and that could take many doses of Naloxone," Dr. Halena Gazelka, chair of Mayo Clinic Opioid Stewardship Committee said.

But for some, even those who work with narcotics everyday have lost the most.

"Despite the fact that I lost both of my sons that anytime that they might be revived, that was another chance of recovery. It was one more chance, one more chance, one more chance," Dr. Bonnie Milas, Anesthesiologist, said.

Milas uses her family experience to educate others on accidental opioid overdoses. She advocates making Naloxone readily available and for teaching individuals to come to the rescue with the drug in an emergency.


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