South Bend non-profit trains people to save lives with Narcan

Two best friends in Michiana are on a mission to teach as many people as possible how to save the life of someone who is overdosing.

“She wasn’t responding at all,” Erica Donahue said. “So I pulled out the Narcan, I withdrawed [sic] it and I stabbed her in the leg with it.”

Donohue recently saved her friend’s life by administering a drug becoming known as a lifesaver from heroin – Narcan.

“I was able to get her to my van and I drove her to St. Joe Hospital,” Donohue, who is the president of IUSB’s Substance Abuse Club, said.

She was armed with the antidote after being trained by Brady Baker and Amy Miller, the co-founders of “Drug Overdose Prevention Education,” or “D.O.P.E.”

The two women held another training session on Sunday in South Bend.

“We’re gonna teach them how to administer [Narcan],” Baker said. “That way they can have it on themselves if they ever have an overdose.”

Following two brief presentations, participants got right to work by filling a syringe with the Narcan and administering it to an orange, which served as the test object.

Once successful, each trainee got their own take-home kit, offering them two doses of something that could save a struggling loved one.

“Well, [family and friends are] usually the first person to find somebody that has OD’d,” Baker said. “And then for the medical assistance to actually come, it could be up to five minutes and somebody could be dead before that.”

But the training sessions are also meant to build community, offering a safe place for families dealing with addiction.

Baker’s son is a heroin addict currently behind bars and Miller is a recovering addict herself.

“We’ve walked this already,” Miller said. “So we know the steps to take.”

The two have turned “D.O.P.E.” into a non-profit, hoping to train as many lifesavers as possible in order to allow addicts the ultimate second chance.

“If you didn’t have people that were saved with this, then they won’t be here to recover,” Baker said.

That philosophy is something Donohue now knows after saving her friend with Narcan.

“I’m just so happy that she is alive,” Donohue said.

Baker and Miller plan to host another training session, their third, at the end of summer, as well as a bike run event in August. You can head to their website to find out details and to learn more about ways you can help a loved one battling addiction.

According to Saint Joseph County Police, 59 people died from drug overdoses in St. Joe County in 2015.

Baker and Miller said the most important rule after administering Narcan is to immediately call 9-1-1.

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