Philadelphia recruiting residents to fight opioid epidemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia is recruiting residents to help in fighting the opioid epidemic.

The city health commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, announced a new awareness campaign on Tuesday morning.

The city is urging the public to carry Naloxone, an opioid antidote commonly known by the brand name Narcan, in an effort to reduce overdose deaths citywide.

"We had 1,200 deaths from drug overdose. Many of these can be saved because, probably half or more, there's a witness nearby," said Farley.

Farley held a demonstration, showing it is as easy as spraying the dose in someone's nose.

The city is offering training sessions and information on how to obtain Naloxone.

"Anyone can go to the pharmacy and buy it. You don't need a prescription. If you have Medicaid it's free. If you have health insurance you have a copay," said Farley.

Destinie Campanella lost her brother to a heroin overdose five years ago. She said she now carries two doses in her purse at all times.

"Go to the pharmacy and get it," she said.

Evan Figueroa Vargas says he saved a life of a man in Kensington last year thanks to a dose of Naloxone he kept in his car.

"I encourage all Philadelphians to carry Naloxone. You can literally hold someone's life and death in your hand," he said.

City officials now hoping this $100,000 campaign will help save even more lives.

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