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Group trains the public and offers free kits of life-saving Narcan

Two South Bend women are making it possible for the community to respond hands on to drug overdoses and potentially save lives.

Amy Miller and Brandy Baker have been best friends for almost 40 years. 

They've seen each other through the good times and the bad. 

The difficult times for both women revolve around drugs.

“I have a son, he’s 25 years old and he’s been addicted to heroin for close to 9 years now,” said Baker.

“Between 2009 and 2011 I was addicted to Vicadin and the natural progression was heroin. I overdosed multiple times,” said Miller.

But through those tough times, the two women stuck together.

“She’s held my hair out of my face for two days straight while I detoxed, she was there for me right beside me the whole time,” said Miller.

Now, they’ve found a way to use their experiences to better the community, giving people the skills and resources to administer Narcan.

Narcan, which reverses the deadly effects of an opioid drug overdose, was once only given out by emergency responders.

In their event on January 24th, the women will be giving out hundreds of free Narcan kits. They will also have trained staff to teach the community how to use them.

“The community now is actually going to be able to have it in their hands so that they would be able to help somebody that is overdosing until the first responders get there,” said Baker.

A skill, Baker says, is critical for people to know.

“If you have this on you, you’ve just saved their life and they can actually go on to the next step of their life,” said Baker.

It’s that compassion for a second chance that Baker and Miller hope the community will offer to those struggling with drug addiction.

“You can’t save somebody if they’re gone, if they’ve passed away there’s no other help. We’re not saying that it’s OK to do drugs or that we want you to do drugs or that this is your safety net. We want you to actually be saved so that you can go into recovery,” said Baker.

It’s an investment and a hope into the recovery of a son or a best friend. One that Baker and Miller know is possible.

"I’ve lived through the worst that you could possibly imagine. So there are no hopeless cases out there. That’s what we do as a community, that’s how we thrive we help one another if we have an opportunity to save a life, it doesn’t cost anything but a little bit of time I believe it’s our responsibility to do what we can,” said Miller.

The event will be at the Portage Township Fire Department in South Bend on Sunday, January 24 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information about the event and to join the Drug Overdose Prevention Education, click here.

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