MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Five people in Hennepin County, Minn. overdosed on heroin in the span of one hour on Thursday night, further proof that opioid addiction has become all too common across the country in recent years.
To prevent further life-threatening incidents, volunteers are working hard to implement Steve’s Law, passed in 2013 to allow first responders and everyday citizens a legal right to carry a lifesaving medication in case someone they know with an opioid addiction accidentally overdoses.
In 2009, Star Selleck knew for three days her son Ian had tried heroin when she found him unresponsive.
She called 911, police arrived immediately. As a nurse, Selleck knew exactly what he needed
“I said ‘he needs Narcan! He needs narcan!’ and they said, ‘Star we don't' carry Narcan’,” Selleck said. “That is why I do this, so that no other mom will lose their son to [a heroin overdose].”
Now, six years later, Selleck volunteers with the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, training everyday people how to administer naloxone, also known as narcan, should a loved one accidentally overdose on prescription pain pills or heroin. The foundation is also giving out naloxone kits to everyone they train.
“The [Centers for Disease Control] have come out and acknowledged that this has hit epidemic proportions. It is now the #1 cause of accidental death in our country,” Selleck said.
According to SRHF, every year about 16,000 people accidentally overdoses on pain pills each year, which is about four times the number of heroin overdoses.
Dr. Paul Satterlee from Abbott Northwestern Hospital says it is “really a recognized problem that pain pills very readily lead to heroin.”
Satterlee added that doctors are seeing overdoses even among those using prescriptions as prescribed, which are situations where having a naloxone kit can make call the difference.
Volunteers said the naloxone kits are easy to use and there is no risk of harming someone.
“To those of you who say this can never happen to you, I'm an Edina mom, whose son played every sport, and was loved by all, and made a stupid mistake. So it can happen to anyone,” Selleck said.
Steve Rummler Hope Foundation: http://steverummlerhopefoundation.org/
For parents of opioid addicts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TAMMinnesota/