A small white box is what you’ll find in 26-year-old Massachusetts resident Andy LaBelle’s work truck. It’s usually nestled in his cup holder. The small package contains Narcan. It’s what he intends to use to save someone’s life.
“You see more overdoses in Fitchburg than you do car crashes,” said Andy LaBelle.
LaBelle wished he had Narcan sooner, so he could have used it when he saw a man overdose on the side of the ride. LaBelle noticed a man passed out in his truck when he was on his way to work on Route 140. He turned around, and yelled to the man. When there was no answer, he pulled the man out of his truck, and called 911. He said it took police three different Narcan packages for the man to final come back to life. It was not long after this he witnessed another overdose. He was at a gas station when he heard a woman scream. He said there was no one around and the woman was laying on the side of the building.
“I went over to hear, and turned her on her side so she wouldn’t choke on anything. She was a pale grey, and her lips were purple. I waited with her until the ambulance came,” said LaBelle.
LaBelle said he didn’t take any training just watched a YouTube video on how to administer Narcan.
“If someone is dying we have to help them. We can’t just let them die,” said LaBelle.
Dr. Dan O’Leary of Leominster Hospital said he would like to see more people carrying Narcan. He said it’s similar to someone carrying an epi-pen, no one waits for the ambulance to get there to administer the drug.
“This disease is salvageable, and curable every day,” said Dr. O’Leary.
O’Leary said he sees four to five overdoses a day come into the emergency room, and almost all of them refuse any treatment. Also, he’s seeing about 7 to 10 deaths a month. Even though in Massachusetts you can get Narcan over the counter without any prescription or training, yet Dr. O’Leary said people don’t even know they can carry it. Local pharmacies said the drug is usually covered by insurance, and to pay out of pocket ranges, but it’s less than $100.
LaBelle said if these small bottles can give someone another chance at recovery the choice for him is simple.
“Every second he’s not breathing he’s getting brain damage, so if I can save someone from those extra seconds that’s awesome,” said LaBelle.