Retired Fla. firefighter working to combat overdose epidemic

Luis Garcia has visited five states over 22 months, offered 106 two-hour classes and donated 2,800 Narcan sprays to attendees and saved 122 lives


Austen Erblat
Sun Sentinel

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Despite a 41 percent drop in opioid overdoses in Palm Beach County last year, it still has the third highest overdose mortality rate among all Florida counties. Now a retired firefighter is giving out free doses of an opioid antagonist naloxone, often sold under the brand name Narcan.

Luis Garcia retired from Boynton Beach Fire Rescue after over 20 years on the job and now he’s devoting his time and money to educating people on a way to help people who have overdosed. He will have a free educational event and Narcan giveaway on Saturday, July 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Crossroads Club1700 Lake Ida Road, Delray Beach, FL 33445.

The event is free and open to everyone, but advance registration is required by calling 954-859-4696.

Garcia said he has visited five states over 22 months, offered 106 two-hour classes, donated 2,800 sprays to attendees and saved 122 lives. He has raised over $45,000 on a GoFundMe page and has over a dozen more events planned through the remainder of the year in Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, Loxahatchee, Southwest Ranches, West Palm Beach and in central and west Florida.

Florida statute allows different types of people to possess and administer the drug, including emergency responders and authorized health care professionals but is unclear as to the possession and administration of the drug among laypeople.

“Such patient or caregiver is authorized to store and possess approved emergency opioid antagonists and, in an emergency situation when a physician is not immediately available, administer the emergency opioid antagonist to a person believed in good faith to be experiencing an opioid overdose, regardless of whether that person has a prescription for an emergency opioid antagonist,” according to Florida statute 381.887.

Those interested in carrying the drug in case of emergencies should check with local and state laws and in the event of an emergency, always call 911 first.

Visit GoFundMe.com/Fouth-Fla-Opioid-Crisis-Lifesaving or call 954-859-4696.

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©2019 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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