INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Drug overdose deaths are on the rise in this country. The death rate rose to nearly 20 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Indiana ranks 16th for overdose deaths.
On Thursday, the U.S. surgeon general, former Indiana health commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams, urged those at risk and their loved ones to keep a opioid overdose antidote on hand. Narcan is the brand name for a device that delivers the antidote called naloxone.
There are two main Narcan products on the market, according to Overdose Lifeline, a nonprofit organization geared to assist families, individuals and communities dealing with addiction. Both products are easy to use and both have saved lives.
Some people don't leave the house without their purse. Then there is Kourtnaye Sturgeon. She does not leave without Narcan.
"One gentleman said, 'Nope, they're dead. Heroin overdose,' I said, 'No. I have Narcan,'" she said.
Sturgeon happened to be driving by when she witnessed the driver crash his car after overdosing. She was on the scene even before emergency responders.
"The one I saw was gurgling a little bit, had some fluid coming out of his mouth. So, I figured that might be the best of the two that had a chance," Sturgeon said.
She administered her only dose that she had on her. Sturgeon revived one, and medics revived the other.
"This was my first time I've ever seen an overdose. First time I didn't know how I would respond to it," she said.
First time, yet she pulled it off. As director of education for Overdose Lifeline, Sturgeon wants to make sure that people not only have Narcan, but also know how to administer it.
One common Narcan comes in three pieces. It's simple to assemble. Another type comes ready to administer. Both types work like nostril spray.
Narcan can be purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription. According to Sturgeon, Narcan with a single dose usually cost less than $75. Most insurance plans will cover some of the cost.
"If there is medicine that is a readily inexpensive medicine to save their life, to give them an opportunity for treatment and recover, then we should do so," Sturgeon said.
Some organizations give out kits for free. Click here for more information.