May 18--WASHINGTON TWP--While the Miami Valley--and the country as a whole--continues to deal with its heroin epidemic, one man took time today to say thanks to those he credits with saving his life from the deadly drug.
Recovering heroin addict Mark Bracken of Dayton thanked Washington Twp. EMS crews today for using Narcan to save him from a potentially fatal overdose. Narcan is a medication that reverses an overdose caused by an opiod drug such as heroin or prescription pain drugs.
Bracken said he awoke last July to several EMS members "hovering" over him after having been administered Narcan. All he could remember before that moment was someone bringing the drugs to his job, going to the bathroom and using.
"I was at work, that's just a terrible feeling," he said.
Ten months removed from near death, Bracken said it was time to thank the people who saved his life.
"These men and women coming out here every day trying to deal with people overdosing...I feel like I may be forced to give up and they didn't," he said. "I feel like they cared."
Fire Captain Joel Holbrook said the opioid epidemic is far reaching and doesn't choose who it effects. While it can get "frustrating" for EMS responders, Holbrook said Washington Twp. Fire Department is preaching compassion.
"What we're trying to instill in our membership is that we need to be compassionate, recognize that this is something out of their control and we need to steer them in the direction of health care and well-being," Holbrook said.
Bracken said since that last relapse, he's worked hard toward recovery, working at several local churches as a groundskeeper and being part of Joshua Recovery Ministries--a men's rehab facility for alcohol and drug addiction.
Bracken said he understands that some people view addicts as not caring about themselves but wants to change the minds of doubters.
"I hope I can be an example of a reason to keep trying at this," Bracken said.
Last year, Montgomery County had 349 fatal overdoses. Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office said that number will likely be eclipsed by June and could reach 800 fatal overdoses by the end of the year.
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