The ability of Naloxone to save lives can be a crucial tool during the ongoing overdose epidemic in BC. Naloxone has helped countless would-be victims of overdose, and it’s vital that today’s youth have the information needed regarding this important tool. Recently, NaloxHome was able to speak with Caleb Brown, someone with a ton of experience in harm reduction. Based in Seattle, Caleb has spent plenty of time working in British Columbia at initiatives like the Salvation Army, Transitional Housing, and the Union Gospel Mission in the Downtown Eastside. Now, Caleb is a successful music manager in Seattle.
On Caleb’s very first day working in transitional housing, he heard someone screaming for help. This person was suffering from an overdose, and Caleb ended up administering first aid, plus naloxone, to save the man’s life. Describing the experience, Caleb said, "He was grey, he was dead, I had to use multiple doses of naloxone, and anyone who has used naloxone knows it that it is a very bad overdose." Caleb went on to say that "not to be overly religious, but I felt God when the man came back alive”. Caleb underscores the importance of harm-reduction by stating "He was not just a number, or a statistic. That is someone’s son, brother, dad or uncle."
That scenario really shows the importance of naloxone, as countless more lives can be saved, with just a little more education on harm-reduction. Caleb said: "Just knowing what’s out there, and how to help, can save a whole lot of lives." Anyone can learn, it's all about having the right tools at your disposal, and the additional education can be enough to save lives. Another major point of emphasis Caleb made was "implying that you ‘know everything’ that someone who is using drugs says is a mistake. You don’t know everything, if someone is suffering in a way that you haven’t suffered before, you don’t know what it’s like." This really highlights the stigma that people who use drugs often face from society, and overcoming this stigma is arguably more than half the battle on the road to recovery.
Lastly, Caleb asserted the need for kindness from the community in regards to overdose education. He said "We need education that teaches people to be kind, supportive and treat other people like human beings." Again, harm-reduction and naloxone education are life-saving. The education part comes in when an individual educates themselves on the intricacies of the overdose crisis, like stigma and harm-reduction. The life-saving part is when a person uses these educational tools to save someone's life. Small things like educating yourself on overdose, and carrying around a naloxone kit can make all the difference. Imagine if at the transitional housing Caleb was working at, it hadn’t been him to find and eventually, save the man who was having the overdose. The man would have likely died, but because of Caleb’s knowledge, he lived. Anyone can be like Caleb in that story, it’s just up to us to equip ourselves with the right tools and education. Consider signing up for a NaloxHome Community Presentation this Spring to learn these tools!
Follow Caleb on Instagram: @CalebTBrownn