For one former firefighter in Florida, now in retirement, the job did not end with his last day of work. Instead, Luis Garcia is pulling money out of the bank to buy doses of naloxone, also known as Narcan, and handing them out to local businesses so they are on hand and available to save a life in the event of overdose.
Included among the businesses that Garcia has given naloxone doses are a dance studio, Publix, drug rehab centers, and even local WPTV Channel 5 West Palm Beach and Treasure Coast news crews. But he does not stop with handing out doses of the lifesaving medication. He also provides, free of charge, a 90-minute training in CPR, AED, and naloxone administration so the employees who have the naloxone doses on hand are confident in their abilities to intervene if they see someone they suspect is in the midst of an overdose.
Garcia is a rare warrior in the fight against addiction in that he has never struggled with addiction himself, nor has he lost anyone to an accidental overdose. As a firefighter, however, he saw the rates of opiate overdose continue to rise. Though his retirement date was five years ago, even then, the overdose rates were high enough to drive him to formulate his retirement plan.
Garcia’s plan is to buy as many as 400 doses of naloxone over the next year and disseminate them out into the community. He is actively soliciting local businesses to find those who would like to undergo the training and receive free doses of naloxone so they, too, can take action in the event of an unexpected overdose in their building, restroom, or parking lot.
If you own a local business and you would like to contact Garcia, or if you would like to follow what he is doing in the community, you can follow him on Facebook.
Additionally, Garcia told us: “I am a one man show and have purchased almost 250 dosages with my own savings and firefighter retirement pension. So, any help would be gratefully appreciated. Donations can be sent to me via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
What Is Naloxone?
How You Can Help
Though naloxone can save someone’s life in the moment of overdose, it does nothing to address the addiction as a whole. Treatment is necessary via a comprehensive program that offers medical detox and therapeutic intervention that will help them to safely stop using all drugs and stabilize in recovery for the long-term. It takes time and it takes work, but surviving an overdose can be the catalyst that is needed to get that process started.