CHESTERTOWN — The last time Jasmine overdosed, she had just started using again.
She remembers walking outside of the recovery home where she lived, at 3 a.m. The next thing she can recall is waking up to a lot of lights and a lot of people.
“I remember feeling like I was in a tunnel, I couldn’t hear anything other than muffled voices, I couldn’t see clearly — I had no idea where I was or what was going on,” she said. “When I was put into the ambulance, I had seizures and it took me hours to come back clearly.”
The memory always takes a few minutes to return, she said.
“At the time my daughter was a year old, she didn’t live with me. I was sick. I just remember feeling like I had absolutely no one and nothing, and that my life would never get better,” Jasmine said. “I was upset when they revived me, because I didn’t want to feel the pain anymore.”
Narcan, the brand name for naloxone, is a life-saving prescription medication that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. Naloxone has no potential for abuse or getting high, has few side effects, is safe for children and pregnant women and won’t affect someone who hasn’t taken opioids.
Naloxone basically works as an opioid antagonist, binding to the brain’s opioid receptors and blocking the drug’s effects. It can very quickly restore normal breathing to someone whose breathing has stopped or slowed due to an overdose.
There are three FDA-approved ways to administer Narcan — injection, auto-injection or via nasal spray. Typically, paramedics and other first responders use injectable naloxone, while the public usually receives Narcan nasal spray, which is very easy to use.
Sometimes a person may vomit, feel ill or experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are not generally life-threatening.
They also may grow extremely agitated, angry or upset. On rare occasions, a person may have a seizure, although that is uncommon.
For Jasmine, having her life saved with Narcan ultimately led her into a life of recovery — and purpose.
“Wow how things change. I’ve been shown over the years my life has such a greater purpose,” Jasmine said. “Thank God for whoever created Narcan, because I wouldn’t be here — and my child would be growing up motherless.”
Narcan is available in Maryland without a prescription. Local health departments often offer free trainings and free doses.
The Kent County Behavioral Health Department Prevention Office is doing a free virtual training for Kent Goes Purple at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16 on Zoom. Anyone who completes the training will get information on how to receive free doses.
Learning about this life-saving drug helps anyone stand up against substance abuse by potentially preventing one more overdose death.
Narcan is not treatment, but it does provide a good opportunity to discuss detox and getting help.
Many people who struggle with opioid use disorder, like Jasmine, are revived and do recover.
“Addiction is powerful — it controls your mind and overpowers everything you could possibly care about,” Jasmine said. “Now to be on the other side, I always, always carry Narcan on me. It is so important to me — it saved my life and many, many others.”
Today, Jasmine has full custody of her now 3-year-old daughter. She has a home and a “purpose beyond her dreams.”
Learn more about Naloxone at GetNaloxoneNow.org, call your local health department or talk with your pharmacist.
Kent Goes Purple is a substance abuse awareness and prevention initiative that empowers our youth and the community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.
This is year three for the initiative, with a focus on education and virtual activities due to COVID-19.
This year’s initiative includes daily educational messages, which the community can share from the Kent Goes Purple and the Kent County News Facebook pages. These messages are intended to educate and encourage conversations about substance use prevention.
Other ways to get involve include getting trained on Narcan; learning about the Good Samaritan Law and learning about medication storage and disposal.
Kent Goes Purple is an initiative of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office and Chestertown Rotary, in partnership with Kent County Behavioral Health Prevention Office and Mid-Shore Community Foundation.
Sponsors for 2020 include the Kent County News, Mission House, WCTR and Washington College.
Get more information at www.KentGoesPurple.org and on Facebook @kentgoespurple.