STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — National Night Out events offer local police departments a chance to build bridges with their communities, but a Simi Valley group is using the platform to hand out lifesaving kits to help curb the opioid epidemic.
At the annual Studio City event, volunteers with Not One More were getting the word out about Narcan — a lifesaving nasal spray used when a person overdoses on opioids — and teaching people how to administer the overdose reversal drug.
“My daughter is an addict,” Heather Cornes, a volunteer, said. “She’s been an addict for about 10 years but she is, thank goodness, two-and-a-half years clean now.
Cornes was at the organization’s booth telling people about Narcan and giving people free Narcan kits to take home.
“I also have another very close friend of mine that was an addict,” Cornes said. “He was actually the one that I first used it on.”
In the past six years, Cornes has administered eight doses of Narcan on people who were actively overdosing on opiates. According to the Centers for Disease Control, on average, 130 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses.
“You give the Narcan, and it wakes them up,” Cornes said. “And it only works for opiates; it does not work for any other drugs.”
If administered on people not under the influence of opiates, there would be no affect on the person, Cornes said.
“It goes straight to the receptors in the brain,” Far Martin, a volunteer, said. “So for somebody that is in active overdose, it gives them a chance to live.”
Both Martin and Cornes said they fear getting the phone call that a loved one has died, and know many others in their community and beyond fear that same phone call. That’s why they both volunteer with Not One More.
“It’s the devil,” Cornes said of opioid addiction. “It takes over the lives of the addicts, and the families, their friends. It’s hell.”