Milwaukee Narcan numbers consistent, former-addict says it saved his life

NOW: Milwaukee Narcan numbers consistent, former-addict says it saved his life

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Addiction is a growing epidemic that affects communities and people of all walks of life. New statistics from the Milwaukee Fire Department show Narcan is helping those suffering from addiction. 

Jason Luell works with 4th Dimension Sobriety in Milwaukee. He helps recovering addicts in the rehab program. Luell was recovering at 4th Dimension Sobriety himself not that long ago. He's three years sober. 

"I had a steady girlfriend at the time and she probably administered Narcan to me 30 or 40 times," Luell said. 

Narcan was kept in his house when he was addicted to heroin and cocaine, but when it wasn't available a paramedic was called. 

"You wake up in the hospital and kind of get a wake-up call, which is forgotten easily sad to say," Luell said. 

Paramedics at Bell Ambulance said they regularly administer Narcan. While the drug has been around for a while, it's being used more often as they get called to help patients overdosing in the Milwaukee area. 

"As soon as you give them Narcan, they can go from Cyanotic, blue or not breathing at all, to being awake and talking to you," Paramedic Ryan Janus said. 

The Milwaukee Fire Department responded to 2,876 incidents related to overdoses this year. Of those, Narcan was given 1,080 times. The numbers last year are similar. 

Janus said they do encounter the same people at times. That's something Luell remembers well. 

"When you're wrapped up in that addiction, not that you lose the fear of death, but it's on the back burner," Luell said. 

Luell said while Narcan doesn't get addicts clean, it does save lives, long enough for them to make a change and get clean. 

The Recovery program at 4th Dimension Sobriety has an 85 percent recovery rate. Addicts live in one of their three homes for six months as they recover from their addiction. If you need help, call (414) 617-3917. 

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