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OPIOID CRISIS: Doctors, former addict discusses life-saving power of naloxone

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Former heroin addict Stepheny Ross recalls life being saved by naloxone

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- With a nationwide opioid crisis before the pandemic, health experts worry about getting a life saving drug to addicts who overdose.

Mayo Clinic hosted a forum Tuesday to find a solution.

Doctors across the country say the pandemic has made the isolation for addicts worse. They also also point to another issue, the lack of availability of the lifesaving drug naloxone, better known by the brand name Narcan.

Today's speakers recalled times when the drug impacted them firsthand.

"I injected it and that was truly the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember is laying on the ground," former heroin user Stepheny Ross recalls. "I woke up and my ears were ringing. I could hear people faintly saying my name. As my vision became clearer, I remember the panic on their faces."

A University of Pennsylvania doctor remembers the horror of overdosing from another point of view.

"Despite the fact that I lost both of my sons, any time they might be revived was another chance at recovery," said anesthesiologist Dr. Bonnie Milas.

Mayo anesthesiologist Dr. Halena Gazelka says the presence of another drug has made drug overdoses all too common, fentanyl. The presence of fentanyl requires more of the naloxone drug in order to save a person's life.

Alex Tejada

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